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   Cruise Travel - Cruise News

Cruise Club is a free service, and when you join, you will begin receiving weekly updates including the latest cruise news and cruise specialsWelcome to this week's edition of Cruise News, the best place on the Web to find up-to-date information about cruises. To automatically receive Cruise News via email each week, join our Cruise Club.

For up to the minute news, stop by Cruise Talk anytime to post a message or find out what your fellow passengers and industry insiders are saying about a particular ship, cruise line or destination.


Cruise News - December 11, 2017

MSC Seaside U.S. Naming Ceremony to Feature Star Studded Line-Up in PortMiami
Today MSC Cruises announced the line-up for the official launch and Naming Ceremony of MSC Seaside, which will be held on December 21st in PortMiami. As part of the traditional Naming Ceremony that is held for every new ship, MSC will welcome special guests and entertainment, Miami authorities, global media, and key partners from across the travel industry. For this very special Miami launch, MSC Cruises is proud to reveal an international list of celebrated invitees that reflects the Company's European heritage and global presence.

Headlining entertainment for the event will be international superstar, Ricky Martin, who will perform some of his most popular hits. Renowned for bringing Latin music to the forefront of popular music, Ricky Martin is a worldwide star who has recorded in many languages, and truly encompasses the international spirit of MSC Cruises and the city of Miami.

Also taking to the stage will be world-famous tenor, Andrea Bocelli, whose dazzling classical career has taken him all over the world – including performances for four U.S. presidents, three Popes, the British Royal Family, and several Prime Ministers, to name just a few.

Making a guest appearance at the event will be Miami football legend and Hall of Fame quarterback, Dan Marino, who played for the Miami Dolphins for 17 years. MSC Cruises signed a partnership with the Miami Dolphins in October of this year, becoming the official cruise line for the team and further strengthening its relationship with the South Florida community. Fans and guests will have the chance to experience the Miami Dolphins at sea and meet team alumni on a themed cruise aboard MSC Seaside in 2018.

In charge of it all will be actor and popular American TV host, Mario Lopez, who will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Lopez will welcome guests to the star-lit festivities on MSC's "Blue Carpet," where celebrities will give interviews, take photographs, and meet the crowds. Lopez will then take to the stage to host the evening's entertainment.

An MSC Cruises' Naming Ceremony would not be complete without the ship's Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003. As one of the most celebrated Italian actresses of our time, the glamorous Sophia Loren will christen the ship with a ribbon-cutting and officially name the spectacular vessel, MSC Seaside.

But the main star of the show will be none other than MSC Seaside. Quite unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will shine among Miami's skyline – commanding attention with its revolutionary design. Inspired by the architecture and lifestyle of Miami, the ship will be right at home in warm South Florida waters. The state-of-the-art ship will offer world-class entertainment, a range of international dining concepts, a gorgeous spa, outstanding facilities for families, a private yacht club (MSC Yacht Club), and expansive outdoor spaces.

Carnival To Bring Newer, Larger Ship To Charleston In May 2019
Carnival Cruise Line will position a newer, larger ship to Charleston when the 3,002-passenger Carnival Sunshine kicks off a year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises in May 2019.

Carnival Sunshine provides an exciting new vacation choice from Charleston and features one of the widest arrays of food, beverage and entertainment options within the Carnival fleet, including spectacular open-air attractions like the WaterWorks aqua park and SportSquare recreation area, a stunning three-deck-high adults-only retreat featuring a waterfall and adjoining pool, several specialty restaurants and more than 550 staterooms with private balconies.

"With its convenient location and strong tourism appeal, Charleston is one of our most popular homeports and we're delighted to build upon this success with the deployment of Carnival Sunshine," Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Sunshine not only provides guests sailing from Charleston with a newer, larger ship with so much to see and do but also underscores our commitment to our year-round operations from this port," she added.

Added Jim Newsome, South Carolina Ports Authority (SCPA) president and CEO, "The decision by Carnival Cruise Line to homeport the Carnival Sunshine in Charleston is an important affirmation of their success and commitment to operations in Charleston. SCPA's cruise business is an important part of our maritime commerce mission and diversification of business segments. The Port succeeds through having world-class brands, such as Carnival Cruise Line, as its direct customers and looks forward to continuing this productive relationship."

Carnival Sunshine will kick off its four- and five-day cruise program from Charleston May 18, 2019, and is expected to carry approximately 220,000 passengers annually from that port.

Four-day cruises will visit the Bahamian capital of Nassau while five-day voyages will feature Nassau and the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay. Each of these destinations offers world-class beaches and excellent water sports opportunities, including kayaking, paddle-boarding and snorkeling.

Guests sailing aboard Carnival Sunshine can enjoy a tantalizing array of food and beverage choices, including Ji Ji Asian Kitchen with an extensive menu of Far East favorites, Havana Bar offering refreshing Cuban cocktails and live Latin music, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, the Caribbean-inspired RedFrog Pub, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, and Guy's Burger Joint developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

The ship's family-friendly options include Seuss at Sea operated exclusively with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Hasbro, The Game Show with larger-than-life adaptations of the company's iconic games, and complimentary children's programs for kids in three age groups. Entertainment and activity choices are just as varied with high-tech Playlist Productions revues, the Punchliner Comedy Club offering adults-only and family-friendly performances, legendary deck parties and live musical performances throughout the ship.

Top-deck attractions include WaterWorks highlighted by Speedway Splash with its dual-racing slides, SportSquare with a suspended ropes course offering breathtaking views to the sea 150 feet below, a miniature golf course, and a three-deck-high Serenity adults-only retreat with oversized umbrellas, and comfortable chaise lounges and chairs, as well as a waterfall and its own pool.

In addition to the short cruise program from Charleston, Carnival Sunshine will operate an 11-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Charleston Dec. 3-14, 2019, calling at St. Thomas, Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. In addition to visiting spectacular destinations, the longer-length Carnival Journeys cruises offer unique on-board experiences where guests can enjoy local cuisine, entertainment and cultural opportunities within the various ports of call. Activities focusing on topics such as photography, cooking and arts and crafts and a 1980s-themed "Throwback Sea Day" will be offered, as well.

Carnival Ecstasy, which currently sails from Charleston, will shift to Jacksonville, Fla., to operate year-round four- and five-day cruises beginning in May 2019. Carnival Elation, currently based in Jacksonville, will reposition to Port Canaveral, Fla., in May 2019, as well, to operate a new schedule of four- and five-day voyages, providing an exciting new vacation option from the Space Coast.

HAL Celebrates a Milestone for Newbuild Nieuw Statendam
In anticipation of the upcoming float-out of ms Nieuw Statendam, Holland America Line held the ship's coin ceremony Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy. Following Italian shipbuilding tradition, Anne Marie Bartels, a member of Holland America Line's esteemed President's Club, served as the ship's Madrina and participated in the festivities.

During the coin ceremony, observed to bring good fortune, a Dutch guilder was welded to the forward mast of the ship by Bartels; Antonio Quintano, director of the Fincantieri Marghera Shipyard; and Keith Taylor, executive vice president, fleet operations for Holland America Group, followed by speeches and a blessing by the shipyard chaplain. Cyril Tatar, Holland America Group's vice president of newbuilding services, also was in attendance. The Dutch Guilder brings sentiment and history to the newbuild — it is from 1898, the year Holland America Line's first Statendam came into service.

"The coin ceremony is one of the most time-honored traditions in the building of a ship, and having Anne Marie, one of our most valued guests, serve as Madrina makes the celebration all the more special," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Nieuw Statendam reflects the next generation in our brand evolution while maintaining the classic hallmarks we are known for. By placing an authentic Dutch guilder in the hull from the year our first ship named Statendam came into service is a meaningful way to build that bridge from our past to our future."

Bartels first sailed with Holland America Line on the s.s. Nieuw Amsterdam from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to New York, New York, when she was 21 years old. She has since been on 79 Holland America Line cruises, including 12 Grand Voyages. Bartels has more than 2,500 cruising days with the line, which gives her elite President's Club status for guests with more than 2,500 days on board.

During the festivities a drydock gate was opened briefly and water touched Nieuw Statendam's hull for the first time as is tradition during the coin ceremony. On December 21, 2017, the ship will be fully floated out and move to an outfitting pier.

Nieuw Statendam is the second Pinnacle Class ship for Holland America Line, joining ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016 from the same shipyard in Marghera. A third Pinnacle Class ship will set sail for the cruise line in 2021.

The 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship's design will be similar to Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten. The ship will carry 2,660 guests and feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line's first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company's history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic "Statendam," Holland America Line is celebrating the company's past, present and future.

Celebrity Announces 2019-20 Alaskan and Pacific Coastal Itineraries
Sailing from Vancouver through the awe-inspiring Inside Passage to the iconic Hubbard Glacier and beyond, Celebrity Cruises’ 2019 Alaska cruise season features 13 unforgettable destinations, with more than 40 extended port visits and countless experiences. With three ships in the region – Celebrity Solstice, Celebrity Eclipse, and Celebrity Millennium – the brand’s expertly thought-out 7-night itineraries and in-depth shore excursions will bring guests up close and personal with all of Alaska’s must-see wonders.

“With Celebrity Millennium emerging fresh from the Celebrity Revolution – the largest investment the brand has ever made to modernize our fleet – longer port visits, and one-of-kind cruisetour experiences, our 2019 Alaska season is shaping up to be the most impressive yet,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Add to that the addition of Celebrity Eclipse and we have what promises to be an unrivaled season of unexpected splendor in the region.”

Celebrity Eclipse
Embark on round-trip sailings from Vancouver through the stunning Inside Passage, visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and more. Guests can settle in with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket at The Lawn Club or on their spacious, private veranda, and watch the awe-inspiring scenery unfold before them. These are whale-breaching, breathtaking modern luxury sailings previously only offered on Celebrity Infinity.

A new eclipse is coming to the Pacific Coast in 2019 as well; Celebrity Eclipse is the perfect complement to this majestic stretch of coastline. Sail round-trip from Los Angeles, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, or from San Diego to Vancouver, on an array of seven- to nine-night Pacific Coastal sailings.

The 2019 Pacific Coastal season features 10 dazzling destinations, including Monterey, Santa Barbara, Catalina, and more. Overnight stays in San Francisco mean guests can explore all the city’s must-sees, from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Painted Ladies, head into the wine country and sample the best local vintages, and enjoy the legendary restaurant scene and nightlife.

Celebrity Millennium
Modern luxury travelers looking to venture farther into the vast expanse of the region can enjoy alternating open-jaw sailings out of Vancouver, British Columbia, or Seward, Alaska, aboard Celebrity Millennium. F

resh from her multi-million-dollar revitalization, part of the Celebrity Revolution, Celebrity Millennium returns to Alaska. Completely redesigned staterooms will make unwinding after a day of adventure easier than ever, and dazzlingly renovated public venues will be the perfect complement to the exciting destinations guests will visit along this Seward-to-Vancouver (or vice versa) route.

Celebrity Solstice
Once again, Celebrity Solstice embarks from the dynamic city of Seattle for a roundtrip exploration that visits Victoria, Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, and traverses the incredible Tracy Arm Fjord.

Under the starry Alaskan night sky, guests can enjoy the iconic gastronomic adventure A Taste of Film, which pairs films that evoke a specific cultural, culinary or destination experience, with cuisine that brings the scenes on the screen to life through guests’ taste buds.

Cruisetour Experiences
Guests looking for a more in-depth encounter with Alaska are invited to embark on a Celebrity Alaska Cruisetour; pair a modern luxury Alaska sailing with a guided land tour that takes them deep into the heart of Alaska, complete with luxury motor coaches, glass-domed trains, authentic lodging, and a knowledgeable, local tour director who’s with them every step of the way. With 11 Alaska Cruisetours to choose from, ranging from nine to 13 nights, Celebrity offers Alaskan adventures for every modern explorer.

Cruising with Norwegian: There's an App for That
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the introduction of the next generation of its booked guest mobile application, the Cruise Norwegian app. Designed to be the ideal travel companion from time of booking to day of disembarkation, the new Cruise Norwegian app features a multitude of functions that help provide a stress-free vacation experience, helping guests make the most of their time on and off the ship as well as stay connected with their friends and family both on board and back home.

"Whether they're 60 days from their sail date or in the middle of their cruise, the Cruise Norwegian app brings seamless anytime-access to a myriad of onboard offerings, services and activities right into the palms of our guests' hands," said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. "Once on board, the Cruise Norwegian app will allow guests to continue customizing their ideal cruise experience and view or manage their existing account information, allowing them to maximize their time and spend it on the things they enjoy the most."

With the Cruise Norwegian app, guests' dream cruise vacation is right at their fingertips with the capability to preview and book shore excursions, make dining and entertainment reservations, purchase onboard packages such as dining and beverage packages or special occasion packages before they cruise. Helping provide a stress-free embarkation day, the Cruise Norwegian app provides directions to the port and with mobile online check-in functionality guests can save time at the pier and have a paperless boarding process with mobile e-docs.

Once on board, guests can use the Cruise Norwegian app complimentary by connecting to the ship's wifi to stay up-to-date on what's happening on board. The app allows guests to make reservations for their favorite Broadway-style shows, snag a seat for a mouthwatering dinner at one of Norwegian's many Freestyle dining restaurants and book their next in-port adventure on a shore excursion. Friends and family can stay connected on board using the Cruise Norwegian app, which features unlimited onboard calls and messages for a one-time fee of $9.95. Groups can organize meet ups and share their favorite photos with everyone in their party with group messaging through the app. Those wishing to check-in with loved ones back home can make calls through the Cruise Norwegian app for a nominal fee of $0.79 per minute for outbound calls to nearly every country in the world.

Before disembarking the ship, guests using the app can track and review their onboard purchases, as well as view helpful disembarkation information including immigration and Easy Walk-off details. Those dreaming of their next cruise vacation can view information about Norwegian's Cruise Next program and review their Latitudes Rewards points and learn about onboard tier benefits.

The free Cruise Norwegian app is currently available for use on cruises aboard Norwegian Sky. The new app will be available on board Norwegian's newest ship, Norwegian Bliss, when she launches in summer 2018, and will be available fleet wide by yearend 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.03 - 0.33%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.45 + 0.30%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 1.97 + 2.19%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.72 - 1.25%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
If you were departing on a transatlantic crossing from Pier 90 in New York City in the early 1950's, what shipping company would you most likely have been traveling on?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Cunard Line's MEDIA, built in 1948....but the stabilizers were added later
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - December 4, 2017

Princess Cruises to Name Next Ship Sky Princess
Princess Cruises announced today its fourth Royal-class ship will be named Sky Princess. Sister ship to Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess, Sky Princess is scheduled to debut in October 2019 on a series of Mediterranean voyages.

The 143,700 ton, 3,660-passenger vessel will feature an evolution of the successful design platform used for previous Royal-class ships. Sky Princess will include signature elements that have become synonymous with the brand's best-in-class guest experience, and bring together the best features found on her Royal-class sister ships – Royal Princess, Regal Princess and Majestic Princess. Highlights will include a soaring central Piazza-style atrium, Princess Live! entertainment venue, the relaxing adults-only Sanctuary, Camp Discovery youth and teen centers, and a wide variety of guest-favorite dining venues including the Salty Dog Grill, Alfredo's Pizzeria, Vines Wine Bar, Chef's Table Lumiere, and World Fresh Marketplace, with updated décor and design throughout the ship. Sky Princess will also feature the outdoor "Movies Under the Stars" theater, and 80 percent of all staterooms will have balconies. Finally, some exciting new innovations which will enhance the guest experience even further will be revealed in the coming months.

"Sky Princess continues a Princess Cruises legacy and honors one of our previous ships," said Jan Swartz, group president of Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia. "When Princess merged with Sitmar Cruises in 1988, Sky Princess joined our fleet and sailed with us for 12 years. Now more than 30 years later, a new Sky Princess will join the fleet featuring our modern design platform and contemporary innovations offered to exceed our guests' expectations."

The inaugural Mediterranean deployment of Sky Princess features 10 cruise departures on eight unique itineraries. First up, is a seven-day Mediterranean & Adriatic cruise from Athens (Piraeus) to Barcelona departing on October 20, 2019. This voyage is combinable with a seven-day Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome (Civitavecchia) voyage for a 14-day Inaugural Western Mediterranean & Adriatic Medley from Athens to Rome.

In addition, Sky Princess will sail on a new seven-day Mediterranean roundtrip Rome voyage, combinable with a seven-day Mediterranean Barcelona to Rome for a 14-day Western Mediterranean Medley voyage calling in some of the most iconic ports in the Mediterranean Sea.

The culmination of Sky Princess' inaugural Mediterranean season will be a 14-day Spanish Passage from Barcelona to Ft. Lauderdale, combinable with the seven-day Mediterranean and/or the seven-day Mediterranean roundtrip Rome voyages for an epic 21-day or 28-day Grand Adventure across the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

MSC Seaside Preparing to Sail from Miami
Today in the port of Trieste, MSC Cruises celebrated the coming into service of MSC Seaside, the new flagship for MSC Cruises, as she prepares to welcome the first guests and cross the Atlantic for her new home in Miami. MSC Seaside is the Company's 14th addition to the MSC Cruises fleet and the second MSC Cruises ship to come into service in 2017 under the Company's industry-unprecedented investment plan.

MSC Seaside is a brand new prototype, designed specifically for sun lovers and to bring MSC Cruises guests closer to the sea. The ship boasts generous outdoor public spaces so that guests can make the most of the sunshine and enjoy the outdoors, which are the highlights of a cruise vacation. This is now the fifth new prototype from MSC Cruises, and each and every new ship is designed to further enhance the cruise experience, bringing something unique and different every time.

Unlike anything else at sea, MSC Seaside will be the new star of Miami, truly recognizable and with a distinctive design inspired by a Miami beach condo. But it is not just the design of this ship that sets her apart, but also the on board experience that distinguishes an MSC Cruises getaway. MSC Seaside will offer world-class entertainment, a host of new international dining concepts, outstanding facilities for families, the MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering, and much more. These diverse features will differentiate the MSC Cruises brand and cruise experience in the North American market. Some of the main highlights of MSC Seaside include:

Unique design features - Inspired by the beach condos that have made Miami famous, MSC Seaside has a number of distinctive and innovative design features unlike any other ship. Two unique glass-floored catwalks and a 131 ft. high 'Bridge of Sighs' give guests a view of the ocean like never before. A waterfront boardwalk, the widest on any ship ever built, wraps around the ship, while panoramic elevators connect everything together.

A connected cruise experience - MSC for Me is the digital innovation program that uses the latest cutting-edge technology to connect travelers seamlessly with the experiences that matter to them, whether at sea or on land.

Variety of accommodation - Developed to provide the perfect accommodation for every type of guest, the ship offers flexible modular staterooms for groups of up to ten guests, exclusive aft corner suites with stunning sea views, terraced balcony staterooms with extended private terraces overlooking the waterfront boardwalk and luxurious suites with their own outdoor whirlpool bath.

Rich and varied entertainment - MSC Seaside doesn't just feature a full-sized bowling alley, XD cinema and the longest zip line at sea, but also the most interactive aqua park at sea with five water attractions: the first cruise ship Slideboarding™ attraction, 525 ft. long duelling body slides and two spray areas for kids. There is never a dull moment on board!

Extensive dining options - MSC Seaside will offer an extensive choice of indoor and outdoor dining venues with a tempting range of international restaurants. One of the highlights is Asian Market Kitchen from renowned Pan-Asian chef Roy Yamaguchi. Other highlights include a luxury seafood restaurant, Ocean Cay, an authentic American-style steakhouse, the Butcher's Cut, and a new French bistro, La Bohème.

Outstanding facilities and services for families and kids of all ages - MSC Seaside features brand new entertainment on top of everything families have already come to expect from MSC Cruises. As well as all-day kids' entertainment and six dedicated areas for babies and kids of all ages, guests can also take part in the brand new DOREMI Family Cinema and a new exciting buzzer game.

MSC Seaside will depart Trieste on December 1st, making a 21 day trans-Atlantic crossing, arriving in PortMiami, her new home on December 21st. That evening, the new MSC Cruises flagship will be officially named in a glittering ceremony. And, no MSC Cruises naming ceremony would be complete without the Godmother, Sophia Loren, who has played the leading role in this time-honored tradition since 2003.

MSC Seaside will sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean offering 7-night eastern and western Caribbean itineraries starting December 23, 2017.

Carnival Cruise Line's New 133,500-Ton Vista-Class Ship To Be Named Carnival Panorama
Carnival Panorama has been chosen as the name of Carnival Cruise Line's new 133,500-ton ship scheduled to debut in fall 2019.

Carnival Panorama is the third in the line's highly successful Vista-class series, which are all named to reflect the connection between the vessels and the sea and highlighted by stunning indoor/outdoor spaces that create a truly unique seagoing vacation experience.

Carnival Panorama will join its sister ships – Carnival Vista, which entered service in 2016, and Carnival Horizon, set to debut April 2, 2018. The three 3,954-passenger Vista-class ships are the largest ever constructed for Carnival Cruise Line.

Like its name implies, Carnival Panorama will include venues offering both indoor and al fresco experiences, including the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Library Bar, and Bonsai Sushi, along with open-air attractions like the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, a massive WaterWorks aqua park, and the SportSquare recreation area.

Also featured will be a vibrant Havana section with tropics-inspired staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, Family Harbor featuring extra-roomy accommodations, the Family Harbor Lounge, a luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and Ocean Plaza, a spacious dining and entertainment venue with indoor and outdoor seating.

"Carnival Panorama is the perfect name to reflect the design inspiration of our Vista-class ships providing more venues and opportunities to connect with the sea," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Carnival Panorama will offer a wide variety of fun indoor and outdoor experiences along with exciting one-of-a-kind features that will provide our guests with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories," she added.

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri's Marghera shipyard in Italy, Carnival Panorama is scheduled to enter service in November 2019. Homeport and itinerary along with other new features of this ship will be announced at a later date.

Royal Caribbean Expands Sailings to Cuba in 2018
Royal Caribbean International will double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure next summer, with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to itineraries. The added sailings and breadth of experiences at the new ports of Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos on the southeast coast give adventure seekers even more ways to immerse themselves in the culture and history of the vibrant island. Cuba's historic cities of Havana, Santiago and Cienfuegos will be amongst the destinations on an array of 4- to 8-night Caribbean adventures on Empress of the Seas that open for sale today.

Salsa music, dominoes, Mojitos and the storied historic cities of Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba are easier to reach than ever before for guests on Royal Caribbean International. Beginning in summer 2018, the global cruise line will double its opportunities for a Cuba adventure, with two ships sailing to the island nation – Majesty of the Seas and Empress of the Seas – and two new destinations added to itineraries.

Departing from Miami year-round, Empress cruise vacations will include 7-night Best of Cuba itineraries to Cienfuegos, Havana and Nassau, Bahamas; 5-night sailings visiting Key West, Florida and spending the night in Havana; and an immersive 8-night journey to Cienfuegos, Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, and Labadee, Haiti. Majesty of the Seas will continue the 4- and 5-night offerings to Havana that include day and overnight stays, departing from Tampa from April to October 2018, and Ft. Lauderdale from November 2018 to March 2019. All sailings to Cuba will offer shore excursions designed for guests to experience the destination and to comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement as set forth in the U.S. regulations.

"Cuba is such an important part of Caribbean culture, and we can't wait to call on Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos next year, showcasing even more of the country's scenic beauty, rich history and distinctive architecture," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Cruising remains the easiest way to visit Cuba, and with both Empress and Majesty sailing there in 2018 and 2019, we hope to make it that much easier for adventure seekers to experience the legendary island."

Cienfuegos is a UNESCO World Heritage Site established in 1819 with a wide array of visually-stunning attractions, including acclaimed Botanical Gardens with more than 2,000 plant species on display, impressive neoclassical architecture, a 950-seat opera house and the bustling Santa Isabel Boulevard.

Santiago de Cuba is a gateway to Cuba's revolutionary and religious history, with adventures such as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Castillo del Morroto, the Sierra Maestra foothills, El Cobre – one of the most significant religious destinations in Cuba – and historic sites like Revolution Square.

Cuban culture is reflected throughout Empress of the Seas with cortaditos and café con leche in Café Royal, salsa music and dancing in Boleros Latin lounge, and a range of onboard activities developed to bring the spirit of the island to life while at sea. Empress of the Seas spans 11 guest decks, encompasses 48,563 gross registered tons, carries 1,602 guests at double occupancy and features 795 staterooms.

Princess Celebrates 50th Year of Alaska Cruises with Largest Deployment Ever in 2019
Princess Cruises, the leader in Alaska for the 2019 season, is celebrating 50 years sailing to the Great Land with its largest deployment ever featuring the debut of Royal Princess. With 2019 cruises and cruisetours on sale December 14, 2017, all guests in North America, Asia and Australia can take advantage of a 50 percent reduced deposit for any 2019 Alaska voyage in celebration of our 50th anniversary sailing in the Great Land.

Seven Princess Cruises ships will sail to Alaska with the inaugural season of Royal Princess, bringing the largest Princess ship ever to sail the region. In addition, 76 percent of all voyages sail to Glacier Bay National Park. To enhance the cruise experience and to see more of Alaska, guests can also choose from more than 23 cruisetours while visiting Princess Wilderness Lodges and another must-see national park - Denali National Park.

"Our upcoming 2019 Alaska season marks our 50th year taking guests to this bucket-list destination, that for most is a life-changing experience offering breathtaking scenery and awe-inspiring moments," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. "In 1969, Princess Italia was our first ship to bring 525 passengers to Alaska. In 2019, we will mark another milestone by bringing Royal Princess, our largest ship ever deployed to this region, with more than 3,500 guests."

While on board, guests will encounter a variety of ways to engage in authentic experiences through the award-winning North to Alaska program, featuring Cook My Catch, an exclusive culinary program allowing guests to return from select Princess fishing excursions to have the chef prepare their very own catch of the day. Also offered is the crowd-favorite Puppies in the Piazza, where real Alaska sled dog puppies are brought on board in Skagway for guests to interact with.

The 2019 program also features the first full season of an exclusive treehouse experience at the Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge built by Pete Nelson of Animal Planet's Treehouse Masters. In addition, lodge guests will hear first-hand tales from mountain climbers who have conquered Denali as they tell the exhilarating stories of their journey in the Hudson Theater.

Highlights of the 2019 May–September Alaska program include:

Alaska Cruises

• Voyage of the Glaciers – Princess' most popular sailings between Vancouver and Whittier features two glacier-viewing experiences on every voyage, with visits to the UNESCO-listed Glacier Bay National Park plus either Hubbard Glacier or College Fjord. These seven -day cruises are offered aboard Royal Princess and Golden Princess (departing Saturdays) and Coral Princess and Island Princess (departing Wednesdays). Every northbound Voyage of the Glaciers itinerary on Island Princess includes Icy Strait Point.

• Inside Passage –This awe-inspiring part of Alaska, known for its lush scenery and pristine fjords, will be featured on seven-, 10- and 12-day roundtrip voyages from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles:
• Seven-Day Roundtrip Seattle – Ruby Princess departs on Saturdays and sails to Glacier Bay. Star Princess departs on Sundays and visits Tracy Arm Fjord. All Inside Passage voyages from Seattle offer More Ashore late-night calls in Juneau.
• 10-day Roundtrip San Francisco – Grand Princess
• 12-day Roundtrip Los Angeles – Three voyages aboard Royal Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess
• Roundtrip Cruises from Vancouver - Four seven-day Inside Passage sailings on Coral Princess, Island Princess and Golden Princess; Two four-day Alaska Samplers on Golden Princess and one five-day Alaska Sampler on Island Princess.

Alaska Cruisetours

In 2019, Princess will offer guests more than 23 cruisetours to experience more of the Great Land. Combine a seven-day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise with three to eight nights on land with stays at Princess Wilderness Lodges, exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service, plus visits to the top two attractions in Alaska – Glacier Bay National Park and Denali National Park. Guests also have the option to purchase a pre-paid meal package for the land portion.

Four categories of cruisetour options include:

• Denali Explorer – As Princess' most popular and best value cruisetour, these itineraries feature multiple nights at the line's Denali Princess Wilderness Lodge and/or Mt. McKinley Princess Wilderness Lodge. Most offer Princess' exclusive Direct-to-the-Wilderness rail service between the ship in Whittier and the Denali area all in one day, plus the opportunity to explore Fairbanks and/or Anchorage.

• On Your Own – An affordable option for independent-minded travelers, these itineraries offer a flexible way to see the heart of Alaska. Tours follow similar routes as Denali Explorer options, but do not include any pre-planned excursions, giving travelers the opportunity to customize their own experience.

• Off the Beaten Path – These itineraries are designed to take travelers beyond Denali to sought-after, remote regions of the state such as the Kenai Peninsula and Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

• Connoisseur – The line's highest level of service, these tours provide a truly immersive experience. With a professional tour director, most meals included and enhanced sightseeing; guests experience the best of the Great Land.

Heart of the Rockies Plus Rail – This 14-night cruisetour originates in Calgary and includes daylight Silverleaf rail service on the Rocky Mountaineer. The fully escorted land tour combines with a seven-day northbound Voyage of the Glaciers cruise on Royal Princess and Golden Princess and includes most breakfasts and dinners. Spectacular overnight accommodations are offered at Fairmont Calgary Palliser Hotel, Banff, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Four Seasons Vancouver.

MSC Meraviglia To Offer Three Itineraries From New York Upon Its Arrival In North America In Fall 2019
MSC Cruises announced today that MSC Meraviglia, the sophisticated mega smart ship launched in June 2017, will kick off its inaugural season in North America making its maiden call in New York on Oct. 7, 2019 and offering three sailings departing from New York.

Bringing the ship's on board experience to a new embarkation port, MSC Meraviglia will sail two 10-night round trip itineraries from New York, as well as a third 13-night itinerary through the Caribbean, ending in Miami. In addition, prior to arriving in New York, MSC Meraviglia will sail a 17-night transatlantic cruise from Kiel, Germany with ports of call in destinations such as Denmark, the United Kingdom, Iceland and Canada.

"New York has been a market that MSC Cruises has been exploring for a number of years," said Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "We are thrilled that for the first time in MSC Cruises history we are now able to offer sailings from this important region and meet the expectations of both our travel agent partners and guests."

Meaning wonder, MSC Meraviglia boasts incredible detailed design that lives up to her name. The 5,714 (4,488 double occupancy) passenger ship offers a variety of unique features that have made the ship one of the hottest destinations at sea. Highlights of the innovative ship include: world-class entertainment with two exclusive Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows created just for MSC Meraviglia; a Mediterranean-style promenade, with the longest LED dome at sea, at 262 ft., displaying a variety of digital skies 24 hours a day; a wide range of culinary offerings, including an expanded partnership with global Italian food expert Eataly as well as a partnership with world-renowned pastry chef, Jean Philippe Maury; and an enhanced MSC Yacht Club, which has become MSC Cruises' signature luxury offering. In addition, the ship caters to families, with modular connected staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 people, multiple LEGO-designed play areas for all ages, and a polar themed aqua park, featuring four water slides.

"Bringing MSC Meraviglia to New York is the perfect introduction for the ship to the U.S., providing travelers an option to check out new itineraries with MSC Cruises and, for those in the region, a convenient way to discover MSC Meraviglia's style, sophistication and stellar on board features," said Roberto Fusaro, President of MSC Cruises USA. "With MSC Meraviglia coming to New York, and eventually to Miami, we are bringing the three most innovative and modern classes of MSC Cruises ships to the U.S., offering a wider range of memorable experiences for guests."

MSC Meraviglia sailings for the fall and winter 2019/2020 season

Guests can officially book sailings for MSC Meraviglia's inaugural season in North America beginning January 2, 2018.

10-Night Sailings Departing from New York

• October 8, 2019: The first of the two 10-night sailings from New York will tour stunning Canadian destinations during the region's most colorful time of year. Cruisers can explore the fall hues in Sydney, Nova Scotia; Corner Brook, Newfoundland; Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; and an overnight stay in Quebec City, Quebec, before returning to New York.*

• October 18, 2019: The second 10-night sailing for MSC Meraviglia departing from New York will explore Canada as well as the New England region, with ports of call in Bar Harbor, Maine; Saint John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Sydney, Nova Scotia; Portland, Maine; and Boston, Massachusetts.

13-Night Sailing Departing from New York to Miami

• October 28, 2019: MSC Meraviglia's final sailing from New York will journey to Miami through the Caribbean on a 13-night sailing. Guests can experience picturesque Caribbean destinations like Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Fort de France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; Saint George, Grenada; Willemstad, Curaçao; and Oranjestad, Aruba, before arriving in Miami.

7-Night Sailings Departing from Miami to the Caribbean

Upon departing New York, MSC Meraviglia will homeport in Miami, sailing alongside MSC Seaside and MSC Divina. The three ships based at PortMiami will offer cruise guests looking to sail the Caribbean a wider range of options in terms of ships and itineraries. MSC Meraviglia, in particular, will offer a full season of 7-night cruises, departing on Sundays and sailing to two itineraries in the western Caribbean. The first itinerary will include Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas, and the second itinerary will stop in Mexico, Honduras, Belize and the Bahamas.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.25 + 1.65%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.50 - 0.33%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.92 - 4.69%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.61 - 0.36%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the first ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line (then called Norwegian Caribbean)?

Answer - Cunard Line's MEDIA, built in 1948....but the stabilizers were added later
courtesy of Nick Williams, New York City


Cruise News - November 27, 2017

Celebrity Introduces Celebrity Flora
Celebrity Cruises unveils another stunning revolution in ship design: Celebrity Flora is an elevated and inspired approach to marine exploration, meticulously designed expressly for the awe-inspiring Galapagos Islands.

One of the most energy-efficient ships of its size in the diverse archipelago , the 100-guest Celebrity Flora will offer seamless sea-to-shore transportation, and includes anchorless technology that maintains the ship’s position while protecting the sensitive sea floor. Innovative outward-facing design gives guests 360-degree views of the islands, while personal suite attendants, new dining venues, an open-air stargazing platform, and expert-lead ecological seminars will round out the modern luxury vacation experience.

“Celebrity Flora marks another example of our revolutionary ship design by allowing the destination and its environment to influence every decision we’ve made,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “From the luxurious all-suite accommodations to industry-first, eco-friendly innovations, we created a ship that brings a new level of luxury, sustainability and natural exploration to the region. Guests will feel as though they’re boarding a high-end yacht for a week of unparalleled adventures, and they are!”

“We are very pleased with the announcement of Celebrity Cruises’ decision to build a cruise vessel with cutting-edge technology, designed specifically to operate around our wonderful islands,” said Enrique Ponce de León, Ecuador's Minister of Tourism. “Celebrity Flora will undoubtedly mark a very important milestone in the tourism development of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, offering high quality and sustainable tourism.”

Designed with the Destination in Mind:
The natural beauty of the islands, the diversity and uniqueness of the species that it harbors earned this archipelago the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolutionary processes still in progress. The region made room for the development of a large number of flora and fauna that do not exist anywhere else in the world, making the Galapagos a very unique place of global importance for the common heritage of humanity.

Featuring Celebrity’s signature outward-facing design, Celebrity Flora virtually erases boundaries and brings this typically remote destination closer to guests. Educational, research-based programming gives travelers an opportunity to continue learning about the wildlife-rich Galapagos Islands.

The Marina is the primary point of access to the ship and can accommodate up to three Zodiacs at once, reducing transport time to and from land and allowing more time for guests to explore the practically untouched islands. While onboard guests will unwind in the Sunset Lounge, find solace in The Vista, an open-air hideaway with 360-degree views, cocoon-style loungers and private cabanas, and enjoy the breathtaking surrounds in the floor-to-ceiling glass-wrapped Observatory.

Darwin’s Cove and the Naturalist Center provide a bounty of information on the destination, wildlife and environmental efforts, while the Discovery Lounge will be home to Naturalist presentations and excursion information. Guests can participate in a guided astronomy tour or enjoy star-lit skies on their own from the Stargazing Platform.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the Seaside Restaurant. The Ocean Grill offers a casual dining space, panoramic views and Dinner Under the Stars, or guests can choose from an indulgent in-room dining experience.

Sophisticated Accommodations, Attentive Service:
Celebrity Flora transports travelers in all-suite accommodations featuring oversized bathrooms perfect for post-adventure refreshing. These modern retreats bring the outside in through Celebrity’s signature outward-facing layouts and heralded Infinite Verandas, and come complete with sustainable, natural, regionally inspired materials. Personal suite attendants cater to guests’ every need.

Celebrity Flora’s two Penthouse Suites are the largest in the Galapagos with separate indoor and outdoor living areas, customizable lighting and shades, and a telescope for stargazing or sea lion-peeping. Guests can also find relaxation in Royal Suites, Ultimate Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda, Premium Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda and Sky Suites with Infinite Veranda.

Environmental Stewardship and Innovation:
Celebrity Flora is one of the most energy-efficient ships in its class, with a 15 percent reduction of fuel consumption and equivalently fewer air emissions , thanks to the introduction of an advanced propulsion system, hull configuration and specially designed diesel engines. Two more firsts in the Galapagos, Celebrity Flora’s dynamic positioning system allows the ship to stay in position without physically anchoring and damaging the sea floor, with zero speed stabilizers promising smooth sailing throughout.

Celebrity will reduce the need for plastics onboard by introducing in-room water filtration stations and by converting sea water and air conditioning condensation into pure, fresh water. Any materials that can be recycled, reused or donated will be as part of a strict waste management system.

"I think this is a clear example of an intelligent investment, not only because the boat design was thought with the characteristics of the Galapagos, but because it is based on the best technology available to protect a Natural Heritage of Humanity,” said Walter Bustos, Director of Galapagos National Park. “This proposal is a mix of experiences and education so that each visitor returns to their country with a different mindset, more committed to the conservation of the environment, which is one of the objectives of the Galapagos National Park "

Experience the Evolution of Travel in the Galapagos:
Celebrity Flora will sail from Baltra year-round, making her first sailing on May 26, 2019

MSC Cruises and Fincantieiri Announce Agreement for Two New Seaside EVO Ships
Today at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, MSC Cruises officially took delivery of its new flagship MSC Seaside. The delivery ceremony took place in the presence of Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, Graziano Delrio, Italy’s Minister of Infrastructures and Transports as well as other authorities and dignitaries.

At the occasion of the delivery ceremony of MSC Seaside, the Company’ second newly-built to come into service in 2017, MSC Cruises and Fincantieri also signed firm orders for the construction of two Seaside EVO ships, a further evolution of the Seaside Class prototype, for a total investment of $2.13 billion.

“MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “MSC Seaside coming into service marks another key milestone in the history and future of our Company, but she also embodies a pivotal moment for the industry. In fact, she is the first ship of the fifth new prototype that we bring into service and introduces a wholly-innovative product that sets a new standard for the industry to follow. The Seaside Class of ships is designed to bring guests closer to the sea and to operate in sunny waters, while continuing to push the boundaries of maritime and guest-centric technology.”

Mr Vago added: “As we are nearing the end of 2017, we can look back on a year when we enjoyed unprecedented capacity growth. With two of the more innovative new ships in the industry having come into service in the past six months and now with the addition of two Seaside EVO ships to our investment plan, we are now even better positioned to further extend our global footprint. We are expecting the delivery of at least one new ship each year through 2026, with six to have come into service between 2017 and 2020. ”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “We are proud to have accomplished such an important project: a ship, for a new customer, the largest one ever built in Italy. This demonstrates not only our ability to satisfy the needs of the shipowners, but also the extraordinary operational level which Fincantieri has achieved. In fact, I would like to highlight that “Seaview”, the sister ship of “Seaside”, will be delivered in just 6 months in this same shipyard”. Bono added: “we believe we have built a highly innovative ship with MSC. She marks a further technological quality leap. Such a milestone has allowed us to gain the customer’s loyalty with another order for two new ships, which will [again] represent a real evolution.”

Following the new agreement between MSC Cruises and Fincantieri, the initial slot reservation agreement to build a third Seaside Class ship to be delivered in 2021 has been replaced to instead build the first of two Seaside EVO ships. The second ship is set to come into service in 2023.

Key specs for the new Seaside EVO are as follows:
• Length/beam: 1,112 ft/ 135 ft
• Gross tonnage: 169,380 GRT
• LSA: 7,280

In addition to offering even more space, Seaside EVO ships will have greater dimensions, more cabins, an even larger Yacht Club – with an additional deck and larger cabins -- and will be hosting up to 5,646 passengers. At the same time, just like the Seaside Class, the Seaside EVO ships will be equipped with the latest advanced environmental technology, including: a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system, an advanced active emissions control technology system, that significantly reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) into harmless nitrogen (N2) and water; exhaust gas cleaning (EGC) technology to meet the strictest exhaust regulations in port and in operating areas; state-of-the-art waste management and recycling systems; advanced water treatment systems – going above and beyond regulatory standards and meeting the highest industry standards; and, an advanced energy and heat recovery system. Across the ships, there will be the latest generation of energy-saving devices and all areas will feature LED lighting. The ships will be ultra-hydrodynamic and thanks to optimized hull lines, propellers and rudders, combined with the latest anti-fouling paint, wave resistance will be further reduced, and greater fuel-efficiency will be achieved.

With the addition of these new ships, the Company’s already industry-unprecedented investment plan will now account for 12 new ships to be built by 2026, for an overall investment of EUR 10.5 billion

During today’s delivery ceremony, which pays tribute to centuries-old maritime tradition, Roberto Olivari, Fincantieri’s shipyard director, handed over to Pier Paolo Scala, Master of MSC Seaside, an ampoule holding the first water that touched the hull when the ship was floated out earlier this year. After the closing of the delivery ceremony, MSC Seaside initially set sail for Trieste. From there, she will continue to Miami for her naming ceremony on 21 December.

MSC Seaside is the first ship in the Seaside Class and a completely new prototype pushing the boundaries of innovative ship building and design. At 153,516 GRT and with a guest capacity of 5,119, she is the second newly-built next-generation mega cruise ship in the MSC Cruises fleet and the first one to be delivered by Fincantieri.

MSC Seaside will be homeporting in Miami and will begin her first sailing in the Caribbean where she will call at various ports in the East and West Caribbean.

Fresh on the heels of MSC Seaside, her sister ship MSC Seaview will come into service in June 2018, starting her summer season in the Mediterranean. Today at the delivery ceremony, Mr Vago also announced that MSC Seaview will be christened in Civitavecchia, Italy, on June 2, 2018.

Norwegian Cruise Line Names Godfather For Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Elvis Duran, nationally syndicated radio and digital personality and on-air host of iHeartMedia's top rated, "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" will serve as Godfather of its newest ship, Norwegian Bliss. As Godfather, Elvis will have an honorary role in the official ship christening ceremony on May 30, 2018 at Pier 66 in Seattle. Custom built for the ultimate cruising experience, Norwegian Bliss will boast an array of exhilarating activities, delectable dining options and show stopping performances. The line's sixteenth ship will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises during her inaugural summer season and, beginning in November 2018, Norwegian Bliss will trade in Alaska's breathtaking scenery for stunning Caribbean sunsets as she sails seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises each Saturday from Port Miami.

In the maritime world, it is a longstanding tradition to name a Godparent of a new vessel and the honor is given to an individual who will officially christen a new ship, and remain in their role for the life of the ship. Norwegian Cruise Line bestowed the Godfather role upon Elvis Duran as he mirrors the fun, exciting and original personality that Norwegian Bliss so wholly embodies. While Norwegian Bliss is docked in Seattle on May 30, 2018, Elvis will join Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.'s President and CEO Frank Del Rio and Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Andy Stuart in the tradition of breaking a bottle of champagne against the ship's hull and officially christening the vessel during an exciting ceremony. Elvis joins the family of high profile Godmothers and Godfathers for the brand including Pitbull, Kim Cattrall, Reba McEntire, Rosie O'Donnell, Chinese pop star Wang Leehom and the Radio City Rockettes, as he steps into this special new role.

"Elvis Duran epitomizes the high-energy, and liveliness that the ship represents and we're very excited to have him join the family as Godfather to Norwegian Bliss," said Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line's president and chief executive officer. "Norwegian Cruise Line's mission is first and foremost to provide guests with a one-of-a-kind unforgettable vacation and continue to develop and offer guests the latest innovative experiences. As one of the most beloved radio hosts in history, Elvis' commitment to entertainment and bringing laughter and joy to his listeners each day is exactly why we believe he is the perfect fit to represent Norwegian Bliss."

Elvis Duran has become a household name in the industry since he began hosting the daily morning radio show on New York's Z100 in 1996. Over the years, Duran has continuously shown his devotion to his listeners by seeking new ideas, fun games and exciting interviews with celebrities. His radio career has spanned 30 years and today, the award-winning "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" on WHTZ, New York's Z100, is syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks on nearly 80 radio stations across the country and available digitally on iHeartRadio, reaching more than ten million monthly listeners. The show is the most listened to Top 40 morning show in the U.S. that consistently ranks #1 across multiple demographics and top markets. Broadcasting live from New York's Z100, Duran and his on-air crew entertain listeners with up-to-the-minute entertainment and pop culture news, celebrity guests, hit songs, and regular features such as the gossipy "Entertainment Report," the news-worthy "Headlines," and the ever-popular prank "Phone Taps."

"I am honored to be named Godfather for Norwegian Bliss," said Elvis Duran. "This incredible ship and all the innovative activities onboard, from the race track to Broadway shows, perfectly reflect the energy and excitement of our morning show and we are looking forward to bringing our loyal listeners along for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can't wait until she arrives next May!"

Carnival Cruise Line Revamping Specialty Dining and Breakfast Menus, Reintroducing Baked Alaska Across the Fleet
As part of its ongoing effort to keep its culinary offerings fresh and exciting for its guests, Carnival Cruise Line is revamping the menus for several of its specialty dining venues and reintroducing Baked Alaska across the fleet.

The menus for Carnival's steakhouses, Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurants, and delis, as well as main dining room breakfast offerings, have undergone a transformation with a variety of tantalizing new items reflecting lighter ingredients, updated preparation techniques and exquisite presentation to keep pace with changing palates.

Baked Alaska – a classic dessert made of cake and ice cream topped with merengue – is also being reintroduced after several years with uniformed waiters performing the time-honored tradition of parading the tasty confection throughout the dining room prior to service.

The updated steakhouse menus, currently available on three ships, offer mouth-watering appetizers such as Iced and Smoked Fresh Oysters with Apple Mignonette; Tuna Tartare with Yuzu Sphere and Avocado "Leche de Tiger"; Risotto with Crab, Mushroom and Brown Butter, and Heritage Berkshire Pork Belly with Apple Walnut Preserve. These complement a selection of USDA prime steaks, including new items such as an A-5 Wagyu steak and lighter fare like Farmhouse Chicken with Roasted Honey Vinegar and Dover Sole Pan-Seared with Lemon Potato-Mousseline and Shallot Emulsion. Four additional ships are expected to get the new menus by early next year.

The new menu for Cucina del Capitano reflects the diversity of Italy's culinary regions, with dishes like Branzino Al Forno in Crosta Dorata with tomatoes, stewed chickpeas, salmoriglio and mushroom bark, along with Risotto Milanese with saffron and Parmesan cheese, Grande Braciola Di Maiale – a tomahawk pork chop with fennel pollen, shallots and crispy sage – and Costina Di Manzo Con Porcini with salsa verde and young tomato bruschetta. House-made burrata – an Italian favorite made with mozzarella and cream and distinguished by its rich buttery flavor – has been added to menus as well, with classic Italian favorites like chicken Parmesan, meatballs and fried calamari also available. The new Cucina del Capitano menus are currently on three ships – Carnival Magic, Carnival Vista and Carnival Breeze – with Carnival Sunshine expected to updated next month.

Breakfast menus in the main dining rooms are just as varied with delicious options such as avocado toast; a Breakfast Bowl featuring kale, spinach, faro wheat berries, sesame seeds, feta cheese, raspberries and a sunny side up egg; and fresh-baked Broccoli and Cheddar Egg Frittata. There's also a Broken Egg Sandwich served panini-style with fried eggs, bacon, cheddar, greens and hash browns; and a "Breakfast Board" with a soft boiled egg, house-made yogurt, seasonal jam, baby lettuce salad, pastrami, and grilled sour dough bread. For those on the go, a new "breakfast express" is available on port days featuring orange juice, eggs, hickory-smoked bacon or sausage and pastries, all "in and out" within 25 minutes. An assortment of traditional breakfast favorites such as French toast, pancakes and cereals is also offered. Thus far, 12 ships feature the popular new breakfast items with the balance of the fleet expected to receive the new menus by mid-2018.

The line's delis have undergone a dramatic change, as well, with an updated design and host of new choices, including seven sandwiches such as meatball, buffalo chicken, and The Cubano with roasted pork, ham, pickles, mustard and Swiss cheese, along with Southwest chicken, falafel and turkey wraps. Diners can enjoy a sweet finish to their meal with a Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie baked fresh every morning.

Carnival is also re-branding its 24-hour pizzerias to Pizzeria del Capitano offering five kinds of hand-tossed, thin-crusted pies – from Margherita and pepperoni to artisan-style quattro formaggio, mushroom, and prosciutto. The re-branded delis and pizzerias will be incorporated into additional vessels during scheduled dry docks.

With the popularity of Seafood Shack which debuted on Carnival Vista last year and offering lobster rolls, fried clams, chowder and other New England-inspired fare, the concept has been expanded to nine additional ships.

Dream Cruises’ World Dream Christened in Hong Kong
Genting Hong Kong celebrated the arrival of Dream Cruises’ second new ship, World Dream, on 17 November 2017 at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with a special christening ceremony to impart good fortune and luck to the vessel.

Puan Sri Cecilia Lim, World Dream’s official Godmother and the wife of Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong, activated the traditional breaking of the champagne on the hull of the new ship in the presence of more than 1,000 guests including government dignitaries, business and trade partners and media.

World Dream is the sistership to Genting Dream, which debuted in November 2016, and will double the capacity for Dream Cruises, Asia’s luxury cruise line. With World Dream based in Hong Kong, Genting Dream will now cruise from Singapore.

“We are truly excited to christen World Dream in Hong Kong – and to be the first-ever cruise ship to have this honour in a city that holds such significance to Genting Hong Kong and Dream Cruises. As the pioneer of the Asian cruise industry 24 years ago, Genting Hong Kong developed the Asian cruise industry with the founding of Star Cruises, with its headquarters in Hong Kong,” said Tan Sri Limd.

“Now, with Genting Dreams’ arrival in the Pearl River Delta a year ago, she has delivered over 300,000 international passenger trips from across the region. Hundreds of jobs have been created and tourism receipts in hotels, airlines and destination management industries for the Pearl River Delta have grown significantly.”

Tan Sri Lim also expressed the importance of Hong Kong to both Genting Hong Kong and the overall cruise industry in the Asia Pacific and reiterated the company’s commitment to showcase the city and grow the Pearl River Delta region into a world-class, cruise destination hub.

Carnival Raises Price of Beverage Package
Carnival Cruise Line has increased the cost of its Cheers! beverage package effective Jan. 1, 2018.

The pre-cruise purchase cost will go from $49.95 per person, per day to $51.95, a 4% increase.

On the ship, the package will sell for $56.95, up from $54.95. The prices do not include the 15% gratuity.

The package includes spirits, beer, and wine and champagne by the glass with a menu price of $50 and below, plus specialty coffees, sodas, juices, nonalcoholic cocktails, milkshakes, energy drinks and bottled water.

List of beverages and services included in Carnival Cruise Line’s CHEERS! program:

• All spirits, including cocktails, cognacs, whiskies and other spirits, as well as beer and wine (and Champagne) by the glass, with a $50 USD or lower menu price per serving

• Zero-Proof frozen cocktails (including smoothies), sodas (including specialty sodas) and juices

• Specialty coffees and hot tea served in the main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and coffee bars

• RockStar energy drinks, Powerade, Vitamin Water, Coconut Water and Honest Tea

• 500ml bottled water and other non-alcoholic bottled beverages served in bars and lounges

• Large format (1 liter and 1.5-liter) bottles of water in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants

• 25 percent discount off the menu price for any spirit, cocktail or wine by the glass, costing above $50 USD per serving

• 25 percent discount off the menu price for wine and champagne by the bottle and larger format water bottles purchased outside the main dining rooms or specialty restaurants

• 25 percent discount off beverage seminars and classes

CHEERS! is not offered on two day cruises, charters, and cruises from Australia.

MSC Seaside to Sail With Beer-Themed Improv, 7 Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises has announced that its upcoming new cruise ship, the MSC Seaside, will sail with a beer-themed improv comedy concept and a lineup of seven new Broadway-style shows.

The North American comedy troupe BeerProv, known for creating unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, marking the first improv comedy show in the MSC Cruises fleet. This new 45-minute concept includes four comedians and a high level of audience participation.

MSC Cruises has also worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another show, The Wizard, will incorporate illusions, and Peter Punk aims to provide a new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

Also for the first time in MSC Cruises’ fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility, MSC Cruises said. The shows will include 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

For families, the new ship will have two special LEGO rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, that will aim to allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world’s most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club - LEGO Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship’s Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club - LEGO Pirates is for kids aged seven to 11, filled with the latest LEGO toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO.

Babysitting services will be available for ages three to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm. Each kids’ club will be equipped 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

The Metropolitan Theatre will also host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids’ clubs for both kids and their parents.

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

An entertainment area will offer guests the chance to try out an F1 racing simulator, XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a lineup of arcade games. The ship will also have two zip lines.

New shows in the ship’s atrium will also offer surprise performances, including game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.16 + 0.05%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.50 + 1.25%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.92 - 4.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.61 + 1.68%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which was the first cruise/passenger ship to have fin stabilizers?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which shipping company had a fleet of passenger ships with hulls painted lavender?

Answer - The Union-Castle Line had the lavender hulled ships. Going back to the 1850's it was the merger of two seperate companies - the Union Line and the Castle Line. They began as mail ship lines running between Southhampton and South Africa, later becoming a passenger line, and basically, going out of business in 1977.
courtesy of Frank Cicio


Cruise News - November 20, 2017

MSC Cruises Enriches Entertainment Options On Board MSC Seaside
MSC Cruises today announced more details of the new entertainment options aboard its latest flagship, MSC Seaside. MSC Cruises is committed to providing world-class entertainment on its ships to constantly surprise and delight guests. MSC Seaside will offer around-the-clock entertainment in a range of venues ensuring there is never a dull moment.

Late-Night Fun and Laughter with BeerProv, New Improvised Comedy Concept
For the first time on the MSC Cruises fleet, guests will be able to enjoy improvised comedy at sea. The well-known North American comedy troupe BeerProv, famed for instantly creating hilarious, unscripted sketches based on audience suggestions, will perform six nights a week in the Metropolitan Theatre, offering guests an entirely unique and unexpected show every performance. This new 45-minute concept features four comedians and includes a high level of audience participation.

Seven Brand New Broadway-Style Shows
MSC Cruises places a large emphasis on delivering quality entertainment, and has been recognized multiple times for its top-notch productions. The cruise line received the award for Best Production Shows in Porthole Cruise Magazine's Editor in Chief Awards for 2017 and earned a spot under Best Cruise Ships for Entertainment in USA Today's 10 Best Reader's Choice 2016 Awards, as well as the Cruisers' Choice in the Cruise Critic 2016 Awards.

MSC Cruises has worked to develop seven original Broadway-style theater shows for the 934-seat Metropolitan Theatre. Shows include something for movie fans, with My Life in Music presenting the most famous movie soundtracks performed live onstage, as well as something for vintage musical fans, with The Dream. Another eye-catching show, The Wizard, will feature breathtaking illusions, and Peter Punk provides a fresh new take on the famous story of Peter Pan.

Six original concerts, in varieties ranging from opera, to Latin, to piano solos, are also performed in the Metropolitan Theatre, with the help of the onboard pianist, violinist, soprano and tenor, for fans of live music.

More Flexible Theater Show Sittings
Also for the first time in MSC Cruises' fleet, guests of MSC Seaside will be able to choose from up to four sittings of a Broadway-style show each evening starting from 6:00 p.m. and running until late, allowing greater flexibility to fit a fantastic show around even the busiest schedule. The shows will feature 14 variety artists, 15 dancers, and five singers, offering an assortment of different performances.

Activities Kids Will Love
As a family-owned company, MSC Cruises is dedicated to creating unique moments for families, and each and every new ship offers an even greater family offering. Two special LEGO® rooms, unique to MSC Seaside, will allow children to develop their creativity with tens of thousands of the world's most famous bricks, all while making new friends in their age group. The Mini Club - LEGO® Sailor room is themed to mirror the ship's Caribbean environment, with sailors made entirely out of LEGO®, for kids aged three to six. The Junior Club - LEGO® Pirates is for kids aged seven to eleven, filled with the latest LEGO® toys, video games and kits, this time with pirates made out of LEGO®.

Parents can enjoy a night to themselves, by dropping their kids off at late night group babysitting services, available for ages 3 to 11. Parents can leave kids from 11pm until 2am to enjoy everything the ship has to offer by night. In addition, during port days, parents can drop their kids off for free from 9 am until 11 pm, for a full, stress free day. Each kids' club will be equipped with the latest, cutting-edge equipment, including 3D printing, VR Gaming and 3D product scanning.

To create more opportunities for together-time for the whole family, the Metropolitan Theatre will host screenings of popular family movies up to twice per cruise. Also on every port day, MSC Cruises will also open one of the kids' clubs for both kids and their parents, so that the "big kids" can join in on the fun!

Other new features include an interactive game show, Buzzer the Game, which will offer kids and teens a chance to test their music, pop culture and sports knowledge in a speedy team game taking place in the disco.

Interactive Entertainment
A thrilling entertainment area offers guests high-tech thrills, including an authentic F1 racing simulator, immersive XD cinema, two full-sized bowling lanes and a whole host of arcade games. Two of the longest zips line at sea will also take guests on a high-speed thrill ride, finishing at the back of the ship. Guests can either take the plunge on their own or race a friend side-by-side.

New shows in the ship's atrium will also offer surprise performances. Game shows, flash mobs, karaoke and more will make up the varied line-up in this uniquely designed space.

Carnival Cruise Line To Increase Capacity On Short Cruise Program From Galveston
Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from Galveston beginning in 2019.

Carnival Dream will launch four- and five-day cruises to Mexico year-round from Galveston beginning in May 2019, becoming the newest and largest Carnival ship to operate a short cruise program from that port and providing Texans with an exciting and convenient new vacation option.

On this route, four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso or Costa Maya.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of "fun in the sun" shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

"Galveston is one of our fastest-growing and most popular homeports and we're delighted to expand capacity on our short cruise program with Carnival Dream," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Not only is Carnival Dream our largest ship to operate short cruises it also offers guests some truly spectacular onboard features and facilities following her extensive multi-million-dollar makeover."

"We have a long-standing relationship with Carnival Cruise Line and we are thrilled that they have chosen to reposition Carnival Dream to Galveston," said Peter Simons, Interim Port Director. "Deploying their largest Dream-class ship to operate their short cruise program demonstrates Carnival's continued commitment to the Texas travel market. It's this type of confidence and commitment that has helped the Port of Galveston grow to become the fourth largest cruise port in North America. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with Carnival."

The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream will kick off its year-round schedule from Galveston beginning May 23, 2019, representing a 22 percent increase in capacity on this program.

Carnival Dream recently underwent an extensive makeover that added a number of exciting food and beverage options, including Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare and the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurant. These complement such attractions as a WaterWorks aqua park, luxurious Cloud 9 Spa and more.

Carnival Dream will join Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista, which repositions to Galveston in fall 2018, and together these three ships are expected to carry nearly 650,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any cruise line.

Carnival Cruise Line To Increase Capacity On Short Cruise Program From New Orleans
Building upon its position as the leader in Gulf Coast cruising, Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will expand capacity on its short cruise offerings from New Orleans beginning in 2019.

Carnival Valor will shift to New Orleans to begin year-round four- and five-day cruises from the Big Easy beginning May 2019. It will be the largest ship to offer a year-round short cruise schedule from that port.

On this route, four-day long weekend cruises depart Thursdays and visit Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays calling at Cozumel and Progreso.

Each of these stunning Mexican destinations offer world-class beaches, excellent shopping and dining experiences, and opportunities to visit historical attractions and landmarks, including centuries-old Mayan ruins. A wide variety of "fun in the sun" shore excursion choices, from paddle-boarding and ziplining to ATV adventures and watersports like scuba diving and snorkeling, is also available.

"New Orleans is one of our most popular homeports and Carnival Valor is a wonderful short option that provides a wide array of exciting dining, beverage, entertainment and activity choices that our guests are sure to enjoy," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

"We are thrilled to welcome Carnival Valor to the year-round cruise offerings from our vibrant and historical city," said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. "We value our long-time partnership with Carnival Cruise Line and we look forward to working together to continue to provide new and varied itineraries and a top-notch experience for our guests."

The 2,974-passenger Carnival Valor will kick off its new year-round schedule of four- and five-day cruises from New Orleans May 16, 2019, replacing Carnival Triumph and representing a nearly 10 percent increase in capacity on the line's short cruise program from that port. Carnival Triumph will be deployed to another homeport to be announced at a later date. Also in May 2019, Carnival Glory will take over the New Orleans-based year-round seven-day schedule of Carnival Dream. Together, Carnival Valor and Carnival Glory are expected to carry nearly 400,000 passengers from New Orleans.

Carnival Valor last year underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that added such popular highlights as Guy's Burger Joint, developed in tandem with celebrity chef Guy Fieri, the Caribbean-themed RedFrog Pub, SkyBox sports bar, Alchemy Bar and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. Other features on Carnival Valor include an adults-only Serenity Deck, a 214-foot-long water slide and Scarlett's, a classic American steakhouse.

Carnival Cruise Line Transforming Onboard Shopping Experience
As part of an ongoing effort to provide its guests with the widest variety of choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Line is totally transforming its shipboard shopping experience with renovated spaces and popular items from some of the world's best-known retailers, including Victoria's Secret, Swarovski, Pandora, TAG and others.

According to Carnival's Vice President of Retail William Butler, the upgraded retail venues and expanded offerings are the result of months of intensive research and data gathering to customize its onboard shopping options to match the preferences of Carnival guests.

"We're committed to enhancing every aspect of our operations – which includes, of course, onboard shopping – and our expanded and enhanced retail offerings provide guests with an opportunity to enjoy some 'retail therapy' and take home a unique and memorable keepsake from their Carnival vacation," he said.

Here's a breakdown on some of the many new offerings available across the fleet:

• Effy (12 ships) – one of the largest manufactures of fine jewelry in the U.S., Effy's tax- and duty-free items feature a lifetime guarantee and run the gamut from colored gemstones and diamonds to tanzanite and other top-of-the-line products.

• Swarovski (25 ships) – one of the world's leading retailers of fashion jewelry offering custom jewelry, pearls, sterling silver and more.

• TAG (24 ships) – a leading manufacturer of high-end luxury timepieces, TAG's constantly evolving line of fine watches are worn by celebrities and sports stars the world over.

• Pandora (10 ships) – the nation's top costume jewelry provider offers a selection of custom bracelets, rings, necklaces, and charms, including, appropriately enough, some tied to a vacation theme with cruise ships, palm trees and sandals.

• Invicta (25 ships) – this high-end retailer offers a full line of fashion watches with hundreds of different styles to choose from – from exercise to every day and special occasions - providing consumers with a watch to suit any mood or taste.

• Victoria's Secret (22 ships) – purveyor of top beauty products offering a variety of popular items and accessories, including mists, lotions and perfumes, with convenient displays divided by the categories of Prestige, VS Fantasies and Rollerballs.

• Los Cincos Soles (4 ships) – this Mexican-themed retailer offers sterling silver jewelry, souvenirs, T-shirts, authentic arts and crafts created by local artisans.

Additionally, the line's Cherry on Top sweets shops offering bulk candies, novelty items and apparel are currently available on 20 ships.

Carnival's shipboard retail experience has also been enhanced with fun activities, special promotions, and giveaways, in-store parties and more. Select ships also feature stand-alone kiosks with "wearable tech" accessories that include the latest fitness trackers, pedometers, and heart rate monitors by brands like Fossil and others. Carnival has also made a significant investment in digital marketing across the fleet directing guests to marquee retail events and upcoming deals during their cruise.

Over the past year, Carnival has completely renovated the shopping outlets on Carnival Sensation, Carnival Elation, Carnival Conquest and Carnival Valor with Carnival Victory, Carnival Fascination, Carnival Legend and Carnival Paradise scheduled for retail refurbishments in the coming year. The new Carnival Horizon, set to debut in spring 2018, will take the line's retail offerings to the next level with the line's largest, most elaborate and diverse shopping experience to date with two decks of shops, boutiques and displays featuring top-name retailers.

Royal Caribbean Announces Pricing Of $800 Million Senior Unsecured Notes Offering
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today announced that it has priced an offering of senior unsecured notes in an aggregate principal amount of $800 million, consisting of two tranches.

The first tranche of $300 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2020 (the "2020 Notes") will bear interest at the rate of 2.650% per annum and will mature on November 28, 2020. The second tranche of $500 million aggregate principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2028 (together with the 2020 Notes, the "Senior Unsecured Notes") will bear interest at the rate of 3.700% per annum and will mature on March 15, 2028. The Senior Unsecured Notes are expected to be issued on November 28, 2017.

The company plans to use the proceeds from the offering to repay indebtedness, including but not limited to, its $290 million unsecured term loan due 2018 and portions of its unsecured revolving credit facility due 2020 and unsecured revolving credit facility due 2022, with any remaining proceeds being used for general corporate purposes.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.13 + 0.23%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 123.95 - 0.43%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.00 - 1.48%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.69 - 1.05%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which shipping company had a fleet of passenger ships with hulls painted lavender?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - The Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mary, and the Normandie (This is the only time these three ships were together in one port)
courtesy of Chris Kail


Cruise News - November 13, 2017

Caribbean Princess Traverses Panama Canal as First-Ever, Neo-Panamax Cruise Ship to Sail Through Newly Expanded Lock
Princess Cruises was the first cruise line to take guests through the Panama Canal in 1967, one of the world's most coveted engineering marvels. Fifty years later, the cruise line marks another major milestone with the very first mega-cruise ship, Caribbean Princess, to traverse the newly expanded "Neo-Panamax" Locks.

Marking the 50th anniversary in 2017, Caribbean Princess is the first post-Panamax cruise ship to take more than 3,000 guests through the newly opened Agua Clara locks on the Atlantic side of the canal that opened in June 2016, as part of the 10-year, $5.4 billion "Neo-Panamax" expansion.

Previously, only vessels with a maximum width of 106 feet could enter the locks. Caribbean Princess with a width of 118 feet, 112,894 tons and carrying 3,200 guests, sailed through the expanded locks for the first of 13 scheduled crossings on October 26, during the ship's 2017-2018 Panama Canal schedule.

"Marking our 50th anniversary taking guests to the Panama Canal in 2017 is a huge milestone so it's equally thrilling that we will also observed the occasion by being the first cruise line to sail a mega-ship through the newly expanded locks," said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia group president. "The widely anticipated expansion of the Panama Canal allows us to showcase this engineering spectacle to more guests than ever on our larger ships."

Princess guests sail through the epic waterway that shaped the course of history by linking the world's two mightiest oceans with an industrial feat that, even 100 years later, remains so breathtaking and monumental that it was named a "Cruise World Wonder" by Condé Nast Traveler. Onboard, expert narration enlightens guests as Princess ships pass through the locks and authentic Panamanian cuisine is served in the dining rooms. With port calls in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, ashore there is everything from Costa Rican rainforests to old world cities like Cartagena that recall the age of exploration.

The only cruise line to offer a full season of voyages from fall through spring, Princess Cruises delivers the most itinerary options and sailing dates with three ways to experience the Panama Canal - roundtrip from the East Coast on 10-day sailings, roundtrip from the West Coast on 19-day sailings, or a full transit from ocean to ocean on 15-day sailings.

Caribbean Princess recently underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation that included seven new food and beverage offerings, an updated youth & teen Center – Camp Discovery, more interconnecting staterooms, and updated décor.

New Spaces and New Experiences Debuting on the Disney Magic in 2018
Exciting new spaces and new experiences designed for guests of all ages are coming to the Disney Magic in March 2018. From family dining in an enchanted kingdom, to a transformed teen club, to a sophisticated café exclusively for adults, the ship's newest highlights include:

An Enchanting Dining Experience for Families

At Rapunzel's Royal Table, families will delight in an all-new dining experience inspired by the beloved story of Disney's "Tangled." The first table service restaurant themed to "Tangled" that features characters and live entertainment will transport Disney Magic guests to the kingdom of Corona for an evening of music and interactive fun featuring Rapunzel and the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs.

Guests will step inside a regal ballroom in the royal castle, lit by glowing wish lanterns and adorned with colorful drawings that reflect Rapunzel's artistic talents. Here, the King and Queen of Corona invite everyone to take part in a festive celebration of Rapunzel's birthday and the anniversary of her return to the kingdom.

Throughout dinner, guests of all ages will be treated to live entertainment, including spirited singing and dancing led by the maître d', a merry band of musicians, the mischievous Snuggly Duckling Thugs and of course, Princess Rapunzel herself.

The family fun is complete with themed menus, special activities and a lively parade to cap off the evening in Corona. The charm and enchantment of "Tangled" in Rapunzel's Royal Table is the perfect pairing to "Tangled: The Musical" – the spellbinding original production that delights guests during each Disney Magic sailing.

Redesigned Retreat Just for Teens

Vibe, the space on the ship reserved for teens ages 14-17, is being transformed into a trendy urban loft environment. At Vibe, teens can enjoy a new coffee and smoothie bar, play video and virtual reality games, and check out other cool activities like a DJ spin-off and movie making. Activities at Vibe are organized and hosted by trained Disney counselors who facilitate the fun and interaction among teen guests.

Refined Escape Exclusively for Adults

Adults can relax at Cove Café, an adult-exclusive retreat that will be redesigned in a sophisticated tropical style. It's the perfect place to sip a specialty coffee or tea throughout the day, or indulge in wine or a cocktail and light bites during the evening hours.

In this serene setting by the Quiet Cove Pool, adult beverage tastings are also available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, the adjacent Signals Bar will also be transformed with a similar look.

Elsewhere around the Disney Magic, other enhancement highlights include the addition of Club Disney Junior in Disney's Oceaneer Club for children and a redesigned Rainforest Room with steam and hydrotherapy in Senses Spa for adults.

The new enhancements debut on Disney Magic starting March 9, 2018, on sailings from Miami, Fla. The four- and five-night Disney Magic sailings from Miami visit Key West, Fla.; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. Beginning on May 14, 2018, the Disney Magic repositions to Europe for the summer season.

American Cruise Lines Introduces American Song
American Cruise Lines announced today that its brand new riverboat will be named American Song. The first ship in the Line's highly anticipated Modern Riverboat Series, American Song will be the finest state-of-the-art ship available to the U.S. river cruise market. The first of its kind and unlike anything seen before on American waters, this innovative ship will bring a whole new dimension to river cruising in the U.S.

American Song integrates modern design without sacrificing the refined comfort that American Cruise Lines is known for. Wider, faster, and quieter than any other river cruise ship, American Song will be the most environmentally friendly ship in the industry. While other companies are repurposing old casino boats, American Cruise Lines contracts only for brand new ships to maintain its reputation for premium quality and consistency. Each American Cruise Lines' new ship build incorporates the most innovative design and is U.S. built, crewed, and flagged.

Showcasing gorgeous interior design elements, from a four-story glass atrium to spectacular spacious lounges, American Song inspires. Thoughtfully designed to bring the outside world in, American Song boasts sweeping views throughout the ship. With the largest staterooms in the industry, private furnished balconies, full-size bathrooms and all the finest amenities available in cruising, American Song will not only set the standard for U.S. river cruising—it will redefine it.

The Inaugural season aboard American Song will begin in Fall 2018 on the Mississippi River and then continue to the West Coast in 2019, for American Cruise Lines' magnificent Columbia and Snake River itineraries.

Royal Caribbean Celebrates Spectrum of the Seas Keel-Laying
Today marked an important milestone in the development of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Spectrum of the Seas, when her keel was lowered into place at the Neptun Werft shipyard in Rostock, Germany.

The keel-laying signifies the beginning of the ship's physical construction. During the ceremony, a 620-ton block measuring 59 feet by 121 feet (18 x 37 meters) was lifted into the building dock with an 800-ton crane.

As part of maritime tradition, a lucky coin was placed under the first block. There will be a total of 74 blocks that will make up Spectrum of the Seas.

Set to debut in 2019, Spectrum will be the next evolution of the cruise line’s groundbreaking and high-tech Quantum class of ships placing the ship in a new class of her own called the Quantum Ultra.

The revolutionary ship will specifically be designed for guests in China and the Asia-Pacific region, and will feature cutting-edge and unprecedented experiences and amenities.

MSC Donates And Dedicates New 4,000 Square Foot Structure To Serve As School For Children In The British Virgin Islands
As part of MSC's global relief efforts in the Caribbean following the recent hurricanes, MSC, along with members of the government of the British Virgin Islands, welcomed and dedicated a new, 4,000 square-foot, pre-fabricated building that will serve as a school on the island of Virgin Gorda. With all 15 schools destroyed in the British Virgin Islands, this new school will allow the children of the island to focus on the future and continue their education. This donation from MSC is one of many ways the family-owned company is working to help support the Caribbean and its people through global resources.

"It is our responsibility as a family-owned company in the seafaring business for more than 300 years, to come to the aid of our family, friends and neighbors in dire times," said Richard Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA. "This donation is one of many ways we are working to set the industry standard to help those who need it most and we're proud to utilize our global resources to assist as the Caribbean works to recover and rebuild."

Dona Regis, CEO, Tortola Pier Park adds, "We are honored to work with MSC to bring their donation of a much needed, prefabricated building to life for use as a school in the British Virgin Islands. This donation will allow our children to continue their education and focus on the future. It is with deep and heartfelt gratitude that we say thank you to MSC as we continue to rebuild a stronger island."

To date, MSC has tapped its global network of partners to ship goods, including water, food, medical supplies, building materials, mattresses and empty containers for shelter and safety use to the islands of Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, British Virgin Islands and Dominica. This effort includes shipment of materials through cargo containers provided by MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, ferries provided by GNV, MSC's ferry division, as well as external partners to deliver essentials to the islands. As one example, due to the catastrophic consequence of no power across many islands, MSC provided shipping services specifically to bring emergency lighting from Cyalume Technologies to the people who needed it most in Puerto Rico.

While most cruise ports in the region are now open for business, MSC continues to work with credible and connected partners to assist in restoring islands in the area, working to create a better and stronger Caribbean for the future.

Carnival Corporation Completes Multi-Million-Dollar Upgrade of Port Everglades Terminal
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced it has completed an extensive, multi-million-dollar redesign and upgrade of Cruise Terminal 2 at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Used exclusively by the company's Princess Cruises brand, the upgraded terminal now features a more streamlined departure design, interactive experiences, movie theater and more comfortable pre-boarding areas transforming guests' experience as they prepare to depart for their cruise vacation.

"When our guests arrive at the terminal excited about their cruise, that's a great opportunity for us to begin immersing them in a more personalized and hassle-free vacation experience," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "We have completely transformed the arrival so that our guests can board at a pace that's more relaxed and convenient for them. Our focus is on the entire guest experience with a special emphasis on making the arrival experience exceptional. From guests' homes through the cruise terminal and to their stateroom, every guest engagement is intended to maximize their vacation experience."

The transformation includes the addition of Carnival Corporation's proprietary xIoT (Experiential Internet of Things) network, which is activated by the Ocean Medallion™. As a result, guests sailing on Medallion Class ships will enjoy expedited boarding and a more personalized arrival experience as soon as they enter the terminal.

That includes interacting with their Ocean Tagalong™ on a gigantic LED screen (8' 3" tall by 53' 5" wide) that surrounds the Ocean Portal area where guests enter after clearing the security and check-in area.

Ocean Tagalongs are digital companions that guests create and personalize using the SocialOcean™ app – available for download through the Apple App Store and GooglePlay. Guests can select from among three sea creatures – Sea Turtle, Seahorse or Butterfly Fish – to best reflect their personality or mood, then further customize their Ocean Tagalong by body shape, color, pattern, markings and more.

Guests' Ocean Tagalongs take center stage on the Ocean Portal screen in the heart of the terminal as the avatars of guests in the immediate area appear in a vibrantly-animated ocean setting that creates an excellent photo moment.

For guests wanting to stay connected prior to boarding their cruise, Terminal 2 now features Carnival Corporation's new MedallionNet™, a game-changing connectivity service that delivers the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry. MedallionNet provides cruise guests in the terminal and onboard Medallion Class ships with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

That unprecedented connectivity also lets guests enjoy the company's portfolio of original mobile games before and after boarding. PlayOcean Everywhere™ features four social casino games that can be played anywhere at any time with virtual currency, in addition to in-app purchases to boost gameplay for even more fun.

On the first floor, guests also can relax in the OceanView Theater – a comfortable cinema that features the award-winning, originally produced Ocean Original travel series that transports viewers to new and exotic places, introduces them to extraordinary people who live there and provides inspiration for near and far ocean travel.

The terminal's second level offers picturesque views of Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway and the magnificent Princess Cruises ships docked for departure.

It also includes another interactive Ocean Tagalong experience that allows guests to direct their "creatures" through a series of screens by moving their arms and hands to control the creature's swimming motions and directions, as guests prepare for ship boarding.

The 141,000-ton Regal Princess will be the first ship to depart from the newly redesigned terminal, as she begins a series of preview cruises introducing Ocean Medallion Vacations.

DNV GL Line Optimization Brings Ten Per Cent Fuel Savings for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' New Expedition Cruise Vessels
Design changes made as a result of working with DNV GL has resulted in projected annual fuel savings of more than ten per cent for the new Hapag-Lloyd Cruises passenger expedition ships. The two vessels, HANSEATIC nature and HANSEATIC inspiration, are currently under construction at the Vard Shipyard in Romania and Norway and are expected to launch in April and October 2019.

Brought in during the initial design and conception phase, DNV GL experts first created and explored more than 100,000 hull variations for the vessels. They worked to give Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Vard an idea of the technical possibilities of various hull forms and how the interactions between the hull form, the initial general arrangement and stability requirements would impact fuel consumption.

"The design concept for the two new ships was 'inspired by nature'," says Dr. Henning Brauer, Head of New Builds, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. "The vessel interiors have been created to reflect the environments our passengers are experiencing inside the ships. But these are also sensitive environments, so reducing the environmental impacts of our vessels is an integral part of the design concept. Working with DNV GL has allowed us to significantly reduce fuel consumption, which also decreases our overall emissions."

"We are very pleased to have been able to exceed Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' expectations and offer an optimization solution that demonstrates that efficiency and sustainability can go hand in hand," says Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO DNV GL - Maritime. "These results show that by bringing greater computing power and smart software to the ship design process we can help to unlock efficiencies for our customers."

After the initial assessment, the efficiency of the hull form was optimized within the given constraint set using DNV GL's unique formal optimization approach. During this phase, another 10,000 hull designs were analyzed, with the most promising candidates undergoing high fidelity computational fluid dynamic (CFD) analysis to confirm the results. Finally, the stern was optimized for passenger comfort by minimizing impact from slamming.

"Because these ships will have the highest ice class possible for passenger vessels, PC6, fuel consumption is an essential factor in their economic feasibility," adds Juryk Henrichs, Senior Project Engineer, DNV GL - Maritime. "With roughly 7,000 CPUs doing the heavy lifting, our unique form-parametric hull model was able to identify the optimal design to meet Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' specifications."

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.98 + 0.47%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.48 - 0.69%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.013 + 1.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.267 + 0.02%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
From March 7 to March 21, 1940, New York city played host to a unique gathering of three of the largest liners ever to sail the oceans. Name these three ships.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
In May of 1972, on voyage number 84, Cunard's QE2 picked up four unexpected passengers during a trans-Atlantic crossing. Who were they, and how did they end up onboard QE2?

Answer - While traveling from New York to Southampton, on 17 May 1972, the captain of the QE2 received a message that there was a bomb on board to go off during the voyage. A bomb disposal unit was flown out to the ship. The incident turned out to be a hoax.
courtesy of Manuela Flynn


Cruise News - November 6, 2017

Carnival Horizon Completes Sea Trials
Carnival Cruise Line’s newest ship, the 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon, successfully completed its final sea trials in the Adriatic Sea earlier this week in anticipation of its inaugural cruise from Barcelona on April 2, 2018.

Currently in the final stages of construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy, the 3,974-passenger vessel had a full contingent of officers, technicians and engineers on board who thoroughly tested Carnival Horizon’s sophisticated technical, mechanical and navigation systems.

As the newest ship in the fleet, Carnival Horizon will offer a number of unique innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss WaterWorks aqua park, a new teppanyaki dining venue, and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse Brewhouse, a new BBQ restaurant offering mouth-watering favorites created by Food Network star Guy Fieri along with a four different kinds of craft beer brewed at a brewery on board.

Carnival Horizon will also offer such popular Vista-class features as an IMAX Theatre, a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, the tropics-inspired Havana section with colorful staterooms and its own Cuban-themed bar and pool, and Family Harbor with extra-roomy accommodations and the Family Harbor Lounge.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

Royal Caribbean Announces Itineraries for 2019-2020 Season
Royal Caribbean International's expanding global footprint is evident in the 2019-2020 deployment plans, thanks to having unparalleled product offerings in the Caribbean, four new ports of call in Europe, and the first-ever Quantum Class ship to visit the Alaskan frontier. Combined with newly transformed ships designed to offer an unmatched short Caribbean vacation, Royal Caribbean is offering more adventures than ever for guests of all ages.

More Ways to See the Caribbean

Royal Caribbean is changing the game when it comes to short Caribbean cruise vacation offerings. Newly modernized and purposefully redesigned with families in mind, two of the cruise line's Voyager Class ships – Mariner of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas – will sail 3- and 4-night itineraries to The Bahamas. Touting favorites unique to Royal Caribbean, and new features catering to emerging trends and traveler preferences, both ships will represent the best product in the industry offering short, weekend vacations to the Caribbean. Mariner will sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, while Navigator will be based in Miami where guests will be welcomed through Royal Caribbean's new, state-of-the-art Terminal A in PortMiami. Voyager Class changed the industry by introducing unexpected activities and adventures, including the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink and Royal Promenade. Together with some exciting new features, they will be perfect introductions for first-time guests and families, who are short on time, to experience the best of the Caribbean in a weekend.

Travelers from the Southwest also seeking short Caribbean getaways can take advantage of 4- and 5-night sailings on Enchantment of the Seas from Galveston, Texas to various destinations in Mexico, year-round. Short Caribbean itineraries will be available to book the week of Nov. 20, 2017. All itineraries will be available to book by Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members one day prior to the general opening date.

All four of the world's largest cruise ships – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas – will set sail from Florida in 2019 through April 2020. Oasis of the Seas, the first ship in its class, will undergo a bow-to-stern transformation before homeporting at Royal Caribbean's custom-built Terminal A at PortMiami for the fall and winter seasons, alongside her newest record-setting sister ship, Symphony of the Seas, which will be a year-round Miami resident.

After spending the previous year in Miami, Allure of the Seas will return to Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, while Harmony of the Seas will make Port Canaveral her new home. This move to Central Florida brings first of its kind innovations like the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea – within driving distance for markets throughout Florida, Georgia and the southeast region. All four Oasis Class ships will sail 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, Liberty of the Seas will sail 7-night Western Caribbean from Galveston, Texas and Freedom of the Seas will sail 7-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan, Puerto Rico. The 7-night Caribbean itineraries are available to book the week of Nov. 13, 2017.

Royal Caribbean will continue to have a strong footprint in the Northeast with Anthem of the Seas, sailing from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, New Jersey. The smartship will sail 5- to 9-night summer itineraries to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean. For the fall season, Anthem of the Seas will offer 9-night itineraries to Canada and New England. For the second consecutive year, Royal Caribbean is doubling up on fan favorites in the New York metro area. Anthem will be joined by the recently upgraded Adventure of the Seas, offering 6- to 8-night itineraries to The Bahamas and Caribbean. Adventure also will offer select 6-night itineraries to Canada and New England during the summer, and longer 10- to 11-night fall foliage cruises beginning in September. Northeast, Canada and Bermuda itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 4, 2017.

The Views of Alaska Just Got Wilder

Making her U.S. debut for the 2019 Alaska summer season, Ovation of the Seas will transition from Sydney, Australia to her new summer homeport in Seattle, Washington. Only on Ovation will guests glimpse the Northern Lights and other Alaskan wonders from the North Star, the ship's signature glass observation capsule with panoramic views from 300 feet above sea level – the best views possible without taking flight. Ovation guests also will have the chance to skydive, surf and swim alongside glaciers from the comfort of the ship's thrilling indoor SeaPlex sports complex, Solarium and indoor or outdoor pools.

Ovation will sail 7-night itineraries to destinations from Juneau to Victoria, British Columbia, showcasing Alaska's natural treasures and luring adventure seekers with stately spruce forests, island-studded waters, native wildlife and awe-inspiring glaciers. Ovation will join Radiance of the Seas in the Alaska market, which sails 7- night open-jaw itineraries between Seward, Alaska and Vancouver, British Columbia. Alaska itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

New Northern Europe and Mediterranean Adventures

Royal Caribbean will discover the untold stories of four new European ports of call. Travelers can now visit the world's best preserved medieval city and UNESCO World Heritage site, Visby, Sweden; Zadar, Croatia, offering national parks, waterfalls and Roman-era history; the glamorous, picture-perfect fishing village of Portofino on the Italian Rivera; and Porto, Portugal, the country's second largest city, famed for its charming, breathtaking scenery steeped in history.

For the first time since 2014, Oasis of the Seas will spend the summer season in Europe, sailing from the iconic port city of Barcelona, Spain, known for its world-class art, architecture, design and culinary scene. As the largest ship sailing in the Mediterranean, Oasis will bring together old world destinations and modern experiences only found on board Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships – the distinct seven-neighborhood concept, imaginative and sophisticated dining, Broadway entertainment and the iconic waterfront AquaTheater. Oasis will sail 7-night itineraries, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseille, France; and Florence, Rome and Naples, Italy. Europe itineraries will be available to book the week of Dec. 11, 2017.

Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. Signs Agreement With Ulstein Verft For Building Of New Polar Vessel
Lindblad Expeditions Holdings, Inc. today announced that it has signed an agreement with Norwegian shipbuilder and ship designer Ulstein to build the world's foremost expedition ship.

The new vessel will be built in Ulsteinvik, Norway and is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2020, with an option for two additional ships to be delivered in subsequent years.

The state-of-the-art polar vessel has been designed as the ultimate expedition platform with a focus on safety and comfort, as well as incorporating innovative sustainability solutions to reduce its environmental impact. A core feature is Ulstein's signature X-BOW®, a distinctive bow that provides fuel efficiency while significantly improving guest comfort in rough seas; and a very high ice class for access deep into polar regions. The ship's expanded fuel and water tanks provide for extended operations in remote areas; while the zero-speed stabilizers will ensure stability underway, whether at zero speed when stopped for wildlife observation, or embarking/disembarking the ship.

"We are incredibly excited to be working with Ulstein and their brilliant team of engineers and designers on this state-of-the-art vessel as we continue expansion of our fleet. It is the next step in the long-term growth of the company, and will be the most extraordinary global expedition ship in the world on a multitude of levels," said Sven Lindblad, President and CEO of Lindblad.

"The launch of this ship will mark the 50th anniversary year of the first-ever purpose-built expedition ship, Lindblad Explorer, which was built by my father, Lars-Eric Lindblad, and will set another important milestone in the company's commitment to deliver expedition travel at its best," added Lindblad.

In keeping with the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic ethos to connect guests with the environment being explored, the ship will be designed to access the outside environment from anywhere on the ship. With 75% of the cabins featuring balconies for private viewing; multiple observation decks inside and outside, and new "observation wings," the surrounding environs will always be accessible. Off-ship exploring will be greatly enhanced with an innovative Zodiac loading system which will allow everyone to get ashore quickly and safely, ensuring quick access to every destination. The ship's complement of expedition tools for exploration will include kayaks, cross-country skis, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), hydrophones, a video microscope, underwater video cameras, a helicopter landing platform, and more to be announced in the coming months.

The ship will afford gracious comfort and an unparalleled level of service, with the highest comfort class for guests to ensure a quiet and peaceful environment onboard. The 69 spacious guest cabins and suites will include 12 cabins for solo travelers. The spa and fitness area will include treatment rooms, saunas, a fitness room, a relaxation area and yoga room; and there will be two infinity Jacuzzis for the utmost relaxation in pristine environments. Dining offerings include a main restaurant with outstanding views to the surroundings, and an outdoor barbeque and bistro area.

"Our expedition cruises, operated through our alliance with Lindblad Expeditions, have delivered remarkable experiences to our guests for the past 13 years," said Nancy Schumacher, head of Travel and Tour Operations for National Geographic. "The expansion of the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet is truly terrific news, as it allows us to offer these unforgettable trips to even more travelers in the future. We look forward to joining our partner Lindblad Expeditions in celebrating the launch of the latest addition to the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet."

"We are pleased to have been chosen as a partner for this exciting project. Lindblad is an innovative company and a frontrunner in the exploration cruise industry. We look forward to turning this project into reality together with Lindblad and their partners," stated Gunvor Ulstein, CEO at Ulstein Group.

Royal Caribbean Reports Record Third Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported record third quarter results of $3.49 per share, which includes a $0.20 negative impact from the recent hurricanes; updated full year guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.40, which includes a $0.26 negative impact from the recent hurricanes; and introduced its new three-year program designed to further drive performance: 20/20 Vision.

THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the third quarter were $752.8 million or $3.49 per share, better than previous guidance. Last year, US GAAP Net Income was $693.3 million, or $3.21 per share, and Adjusted Net Income was $690.9 million, or $3.20 per share.

Gross Yields were up 5.6% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Yields were up 5.3% on a Constant-Currency basis. This was better than previous guidance due to strong close in booking and pricing trends on China, Europe, and North American itineraries. While the hurricanes had a negative impact on overall revenue, they were neutral to Net Yields in the third quarter.

Gross Cruise Costs per APCDs increased 5.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Cruise Costs ("NCC") Excluding Fuel per APCDs were up 5.7% on a Constant-Currency basis. The reduction in capacity due to the hurricanes mainly drove the increase in the cost metric relative to guidance. Absolute costs for the quarter were better than expected, mainly due to timing.

Favorable trends in fuel, in both price and consumption, also provided a benefit to the quarter. Bunker pricing net of hedging for the third quarter was $498.55 per metric ton and consumption was 322.4 metric tons.

"Delivering record earnings during a period of such unprecedented disruption is a testament to the strength in demand for cruising and for our brands," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "Strong demand trends coupled with our continued cost discipline have put us in a strong position to successfully complete our Double-Double program. As a matter of fact, I am pleased to report that we have already achieved our Double-Double targets on a trailing twelve month basis through September 2017."

FULL YEAR 2017

Royal Caribbean said that it expects full year Adjusted EPS guidance to be in the range of $7.35 to $7.40 per share. Excluding the cost of the hurricanes, Adjusted EPS would have been in the range of $7.60 to $7.65 per share.

Constant-Currency and As-Reported Net Yields are expected to increase approximately 6.0% for the full year and NCC ex. Fuel per APCDs are expected to be up approximately 2.0% on a Constant-Currency and As-Reported basis.

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, the company expects 2017 Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $7.35 to $7.40 per share.

FOURTH QUARTER 2017

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up 2.0% to 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017. NCC ex. Fuel are expected to be up approximately 8.5% on a Constant-Currency basis. The year-over-year increase is driven by planned sales and marketing investments, timing of third quarter costs and lower than expected APCDs due to the hurricanes.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects fourth quarter Adjusted EPS to be in the range of $1.15 to $1.20 per share.

2018 OUTLOOK

Royal Caribbean said that it is experiencing strong early booking trends for 2018. Booked load factors and APDs are higher than same time last year while the booking window has continued to extend. Management is excited by the 2018 introduction of Symphony of the Seas in Europe next spring and Celebrity Edge in Fort Lauderdale in December of 2018. While still early in the booking cycle, the view for 2018 is encouraging and the company expects another year of solid yield and earnings growth.

Crystal Symphony Completes Her Most Dramatic Redesign Ever
Crystal Cruise Lines announced this week that Crystal Symphony has emerged from dry dock, returning to the seas with newly designed spaces, features and amenities that luxury travelers crave. The ship's new Open Seating dining concept ushers in new restaurants on board, while more of the spacious, butler-serviced Penthouse accommodations were added. Throughout the ship, state-of-the-art technological upgrades were installed, enhancing guests' connectivity and access to entertainment and news on demand. The month-long dry dock redesign marks the most expansive makeover in Crystal Symphony's esteemed history, and reaffirms Crystal's commitment to providing the most luxurious ocean experiences in the world.

"The enhancements made on Crystal Symphony provide guests with more choices and flexibility than ever before, whether it's the ability to dine at their leisure, stay connected to family and friends on shore, or enjoy a variety of new entertainment options onboard," says Crystal's president and CEO, Tom Wolber. "While we continue to innovate at the forefront of the industry, our focus will always be on the consistent quality and personal attention to detail and service that makes Crystal Cruises the world's most awarded luxury cruise line."

Crystal Symphony's new look is decidedly modern, particularly in regard to the high-tech features in staterooms and penthouses, although, the ship still boasts the classic elegance that has enabled it to transcend trends throughout the years. Crystal Symphony's stunning redesign includes:

New Penthouses and Penthouse Suites
Crystal Symphony now features more spacious, butler-serviced Penthouses and Penthouse Suites, with the newly added Seabreeze Penthouse with Verandah (12 new suites) and Seabreeze Penthouse Suite with Verandah (28 new suites), both occupying Deck 9, Seabreeze. The new accommodations boast the same square footage as existing Penthouses and Penthouse Suites (367 sq. ft. and 491 sq. ft., respectively), while Seabreeze Penthouses are paired by shared entryways recessed from the hall.

Penthouse accommodations offer guests enhanced all-inclusive Crystal amenities, including butler service and in-room specialty dining. Penthouse guests now receive unlimited complimentary dining at the onboard specialty restaurants. The conversion of staterooms into the new penthouse accommodations effectively reduces the ship's guest capacity to 848, while the number of crew on board remains the same. Crystal has long led the industry in abundant space and number of crew per guest aboard its ships, and the decreased guest capacity enhances the atmosphere of copious space in public areas and dining venues.

New Open Dining Concept and Restaurants
The world-class culinary experience also enjoyed an evolution, as brand new stylish restaurants are debuted. Most significantly, a brand new Open Seating concept allows guests to dine at their leisure, affording more choices and flexibility for evening dining and entertainment. While the design and menu of global selections have evolved, the classic elegance, Michelin-level cuisine and superlative service remain.

Waterside has emerged in place of the former Crystal Dining Room, reflecting the chic décor and sophisticated ambiance found in the restaurants of the same name aboard Crystal River Cruises. Added tables for two and four guests offer expanded options for intimate dining in the expansive space, while a new open seating concept invites guests to dine as they wish eliminating Crystal's previous format of assigned seating and times. Waterside continues to serve breakfast and lunch.

Moving into the former Lido Café space are Marketplace by day and Churrascaria by night. Both venues feature an open kitchen concept with dishes made to order. Marketplace continues to serve casual buffet style breakfast and lunch options, and is converted into Churrascaria, a stylish casual dinner venue in the evening creating an additional dining option for guests. Churrascaria features a Caipirinha as a welcome cocktail and serves a selection of Brazilian-inspired tapas, ceviche, salads and grilled meats presented by Crystal "gauchos" on sword-like skewers.

Newly adjacent to the existing Trident Grill on the Lido Deck is Silk Kitchen & Bar, offering full service dinner of modern Chinese-inspired fare with family-style dinner plates ideal for sharing, and self-service options for breakfast and lunch that include dumplings, Chinois salad, a soup and noodle bar and other Asian favorites. The Trident Grill remains in the adjacent space, serving casual grilled options including burgers and sandwiches.

Silk Road and The Sushi Bar, the specialty dining venues by famed Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, has been rebranded as Umi Uma & Sushi Bar. The authentic venue serves the inspired cuisine of Nobu, prepared by his personally trained chefs, and remains the only Nobu restaurants at sea. The ship's second specialty restaurant, Prego, remains the same, continuing to serve regional specialties of Italy.

High-Tech Enhancements
Upon completion of Crystal Symphony's dry dock, all guests now enjoy unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi throughout any Crystal voyage aboard all Crystal vessels. Crystal's investment in technological amenities for guests includes hardware and software enhancements to enable expanded internet connectivity and doubled satellite speed. Additionally, a new guest portal – Crystal Connect – is now featured on the landing page of onboard internet connections. The portal enables guests to easily access the internet, as well as an array of shipboard information including daily menus from each restaurant, daily Reflections, day and evening activities, Crystal Adventures shore excursions; and the ship's location, itinerary and points of interest. A number of international newspapers are available for digital viewing, as well as a library of box office hit movies, music, Crystal lectures on demand and much more. Crystal Connect is also available for use on guests' personal devices.

In all rooms throughout the ship – in each stateroom and in all public areas – high-definition, interactive flat-panel TVs enable guests to conveniently access onboard programs, view the Crystal Spa & Salon menu, the Connoisseur Wine Selection, and dining menus.

Reimagined Public Spaces and Entertainment
Several favorite shipboard spaces also enjoy reimagined designs, while maintaining their inherent function as part of guests' onboard experience. Crystal Symphony's mid-ship Starlite Club, a hub for evening dancing and cocktails, was also refitted, boasting a fresh design to complement its vast sea views and brand new technological capabilities.

Underlining the newly revamped entertainment venues is a brand-new production show, Crystal in Motion. The production showcases the vast repertoire of the Crystal Ensemble, featuring various genres of music and dance, and replaces the former "welcome aboard" show in the Galaxy Lounge. Additionally, the ship will offer evening-long entertainment options around the ship as guests enjoy anytime dining. The Starlite Club features varied acts from the Crystal Ensemble, as well as comedians, ballroom dance group and the Crystal Show Band, performing on select evenings of each voyage.

Crystal will continue its investment into its award-winning ocean ships with the equally extensive redesign for Crystal Serenity, set for fall 2018.

Carnival Brands Return to Grand Turk, St. Thomas, San Juan
With the vast majority of the Caribbean untouched by recent storms and open for business, the region's momentum continues as cruise line brands from Carnival Corporation & plc begin returning this month to Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Most of the nearly 100 destinations in the Caribbean have been fully operational since the storms, and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) reports that nearly 90 percent of the region is open for business.

Carnival Corporation brands have operated normal schedules in the aftermath of the September storms, modifying itineraries for only a handful of impacted destinations. Vigorous recovery efforts to restore cruise travel to those affected destinations have led to the re-opening of cruise ports in Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan.

Below is a summary of when Carnival Corporation brands return to these three popular destinations:

• Carnival Cruise Line returned to Grand Turk on November 1, and will return to San Juan on November 30 and St. Thomas on January 9.

• Seabourn visits St. Thomas today and will return to San Juan starting on December 18.

• Holland America Line will return to Grand Turk on November 6, St. Thomas starting on November 8 and San Juan starting on December 7.

• AIDA Cruises will return to Grand Turk beginning November 9.

• Princess Cruises will return to St. Thomas starting on November 12, Grand Turk starting on December 15 and San Juan starting on December 20.

• Costa Cruises will return to San Juan starting on December 17 and Grand Turk on December 23.

• P&O Cruises UK will return to Grand Turk on December 20.

"The Caribbean covers a far-reaching region of more than one million square miles, so it is important to know the vast majority of its islands realized little or no impact from the September storms, and we have been sailing thousands of guests to the Caribbean for great vacations," said Roger Frizzell, chief communications officer for Carnival Corporation. "The Caribbean is the world's most popular region for cruise vacations – and its people and businesses are not only great hosts to our guests, but they also have a strong spirit and resilience. So, for those few islands that were impacted, we applaud them for their tireless efforts to recover and rebound, stronger than ever. We are thrilled to have our brands beginning to return to renowned destinations such as Grand Turk, St. Thomas and San Juan, and we know our guests will also be happy to have those ports as part of their cruise vacation."

In October, the FCCA announced it launched www.CaribbeanIsOpen.com, a website that is part of its multifaceted, million-dollar campaign to generate awareness that the majority of Caribbean destinations are operating normally, unhindered by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, and have been welcoming and continue to welcome tens of thousands of travelers every day.

"The landing site is an invaluable resource for destinations and cruise lines to spread information about and footage of the beautiful destinations awaiting guests," said Michele Paige, president of FCCA. "It is crucial to connect with potential travelers and show them that most of the unparalleled experiences in the Caribbean are fully available to them as they plan upcoming vacations, and also to let them know that the best way to show support is to travel to the Caribbean, as the entire region greatly benefits from tourism."

The website – CaribbeanIsOpen – features footage of and updates from destinations, a map showing that nearly 90 percent of the region's ports are open and welcoming guests, a Q&A broaching potential travelers' questions about visiting the Caribbean, testimonials from travelers that recently visited the Caribbean and more.

Carnival Signs Agreement With Shell To Fuel LNG-Powered Cruise Ships
Carnival Cruise Line today announced it has signed an agreement with Shell NA LNG, LLC (Shell) to be its supplier of marine liquefied natural gas (LNG) to power North America's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships. Under this framework agreement, Shell will supply Carnival Cruise Line with fuel for its two new LNG-powered ships expected to launch in 2020 and 2022 and to be homeported in North America.

As part of the agreement, the two ships, built with a next-generation "green cruising" ship design, will be fueled through Shell's LNG Bunker Barge (LBB) – a project announced earlier this week as part of Shell's strategic plan to develop a global LNG bunkering network. The ocean-going LBB, which is designed to support growing cruise line demand for LNG as a marine fuel, will be the first of its kind in the U.S. and will allow these ships to refuel with LNG at ports along the southern U.S. East Coast.

"This agreement is a significant stepping stone in our relationship with Carnival Corporation building upon our previous LNG marine fuel supply agreements in Europe," said Tahir Faruqui, president, Shell NA LNG, LLC. "It also marks a milestone as we continue to establish the marine LNG fuel market in the U.S. as a credible part of the global marine fuel mix."

The two new Carnival Cruise Line vessels will be fully powered by LNG both while in port and at sea – an industry first and an environmental breakthrough that will improve air quality with cleaner emissions and produce the most efficient ships in company history. The 180,000-ton ships will be the largest ships in Carnival Cruise Line's fleet with an approximate passenger capacity of 5,200 based on double occupancy.

"Carnival Cruise Line is strongly committed to leading the way in the implementation of technology innovations to help protect the environment and support our aggressive sustainability goals," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "Our two new cruise ships entering service in 2020 and 2022 will not only be the largest and most technologically advanced in our fleet but will break extraordinary new ground as the first LNG-powered cruise ships in North America."

Added Tom Strang, senior vice president of maritime affairs for Carnival Corporation, "We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry. One of the keys to establishing LNG as a standard for powering cruise ships is building out an extensive, safe and reliable infrastructure across the globe for this clean burning fossil fuel. We are looking forward to working closely with Shell as they help to bring LNG to North America in what we hope will be the first step in building a strong foundation for the future of LNG fuel supply for cruise ships in the region."

This agreement builds on the partnership established between Carnival Corporation's AIDA Cruises brand and Shell in April of 2016 to supply its AIDAprima ship with LNG to power the vessel while docked. AIDAprima is the first cruise ship in the world to use LNG while in port, leading to a major reduction in emissions.

The partnership was extended in fall 2016 when Carnival Corporation signed an agreement with Shell to supply LNG for the first of its next-generation LNG ships from its European AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises brands. These two ships will be the world's first fully LNG-powered cruise ships when they enter service in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, the agreement furthers the realization of Carnival Corporation's LNG efforts that began in 2015 with AIDAsol becoming the first cruise ship in the world to be supplied with power by an LNG hybrid barge, which also saw major benefits while in port.

In total, Carnival Corporation has agreements in place with leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku to build seven LNG-powered cruise ships across four of its 10 global cruise brands with delivery dates between 2018 and 2022 – two for AIDA Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2018 and 2021, two for Costa Cruises with expected delivery dates in 2019 and 2021, one for P&O Cruises UK with an expected delivery date in 2020 and two for Carnival Cruise Line with expected delivery dates in 2020 and 2022.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.67 - 0.53
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 125.34 + 2.75%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.01 - 2.43%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.26/FONT> + 0.84

Cruise News Trivia Question:
In May of 1972, on voyage number 84, Cunard's QE2 picked up four unexpected passengers during a trans-Atlantic crossing. Who were they, and how did they end up onboard QE2?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - The first cruise ship to be fitted with a podded proplusion system was Carnival Cruise Lines' Elation (number 491), and was delivered in February 1998 from MasaYards in Helsinki, Finland.
courtesy of Steve Perry, Miami, Florida USA


Cruise News - October 30, 2017

First Look At Virgin Voyages Ships
Virgin Voyages revealed the first renderings of its 110,000gt newbuild at a keel-laying ceremony at Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente ship yard in Italy. The ceremony was attended by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin. Entertainment was provided by Boy George—who sang and acted as DJ for the ceremony.

According to renderings of the new ships, the hull will be silvery-gray, with smoked glass and splashes of red including a red stack, and the bow is adorned with a mermaid icon designed by Toby Tinsley that Virgin said represents the ship's 'feminine spirit.'

At the keel laying, McAlpin announced an 'adult by design' concept. The line will design its experience for travelers 18 and older as a result of feedback from future 'sailors'—as Virgin calls passengers—and travel partners. The ship has a streamlined look. "We wanted to make it sleek, make it fun," McAlpin said.

To ensure a close connection to the sea, 86% of all cabins will feature a sea terrace and 93% an ocean view. McAlpin said Virgin will create a sophisticated ship and a transformational experience that offers a place where 'rejuvenating day life meets exciting nightlife and everything in between.'

Branson and McAlpin were lowered 200 feet to the ceremony stage via a crane. They were joined by Bain Capital chairman Stephen Pagliuca and Fincantieri general manager Alberto Maestrini. The group participated in the ceremonial welding of coins to the keel for good luck.

"She will be the most recognizable ship sailing the seven seas, delivering an irresistible sailor experience," Branson pledged. 'We’re also committed to making sure our crew are the happiest at sea and will be proud to sail with us.'

Virgin has contracted for a total of three shis. The first ship is due to enter service in 2020 from Miami and two additional ships are on the order books, with deliveries schedule for 2021 and 2022. Detailed itineraries have not yet been revealed but the initial ships are expected to operate in the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean Returns to San Juan and St. Maarten
Royal Caribbean International today announced the cruise line’s return to San Juan, Puerto Rico and Philipsburg, St. Maarten marking a major milestone towards the revival of these Caribbean gems which were impacted by recent hurricanes. On Nov. 30, Freedom of the Seas will be the first ship in the fleet to call on San Juan, Puerto Rico, arriving with approximately 3,782 visitors to the island that is renowned for its passionate, welcoming spirit. Grandeur of the Seas will follow suit on Dec. 17 as the first cruise ship to sail into, St. Maarten since Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas arrived to provide humanitarian relief last month. This announcement comes on the heels of Royal Caribbean’s recent news that Adventure of the Seas will be the first ship to call on St. Thomas on Nov. 10.

“Royal Caribbean is encouraged by the commendable progress that has been made by the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten towards the recovery of these destinations and it means a lot to us that we are heading back home. We have been part of the Caribbean community for almost 50 years, and for all of us it has been paramount that we focus on supporting our long-standing partners – who feel more like family after so many years,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Supporting these destinations that are so reliant on tourism is key to the future of the islands and the best thing we – as travelers and businesses – can do for the islands.”

Working closely with the governments of Puerto Rico and St. Maarten, and local businesses, Royal Caribbean will be able to offer destination experiences that will allow guests to enjoy the natural beauty, historic landmarks and culture of these idyllic islands. With power and transportation on track to be readily available in San Juan by Nov. 30, guests can tour the city by foot, bike, Segway or bus; explore the epic fortresses of El Morro and San Cristobal in Old San Juan; spend the day on the beach at VIVO Beach Club; or admire the countryside through Cueva Ventana – the Window Cave – which sits atop an 800-foot limestone cliff.

Similarly, the return of power and water to most of St. Maarten means that a majority of the shops, restaurants and bars, and tour operators around Philipsburg will be fully operational for guests to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities in the area. The sun and vistas of the region’s best beaches, Great Bay Beach and Kimshaw Beach, will be a beacon for guests wanting to dive into the turquoise blue waters and admire the sea life, whether by boat or catamaran, or from the relaxing comfort of a beach lounger.

As of Nov. 30, all scheduled calls to San Juan and St. Thomas across 10 ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet will operate as planned – including calls from the world’s largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas. The scheduled visits to St. Maarten will operate as planned starting on Dec. 17 with the exception of Oasis of the Seas, which will make its first call to the island on January 1 during her New Year’s Eve cruise. Additionally, the global cruise line will return to St. Croix on January 8 with the arrival of Jewel of the Seas, which will sail from San Juan. All calls to Dominica are cancelled through June 2018 and the cruise line is working closely with the local government on a return date to the destination.

Disney Cruise Line Expands San Diego Season
In early 2019, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations on a variety of itineraries, including an expanded two-month season from San Diego to the sun-drenched Baja and Mexican Riviera. A host of options to the Bahamas and Caribbean from Florida ports, plus cruises to the Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico, take Disney Cruise Line guests to visit timeless tropical locales and experience endless amounts of Disney magic.

From January to May, all cruises departing from Florida feature a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney's private island paradise reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. The award-wining island is a pristine Bahamian oasis boasting clear turquoise waters, white-sand beaches, world-class recreation and signature Disney hospitality.

Bookings open to the public on Nov. 2, 2017. More details on 2019 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com.

San Diego to Baja and Mexican Riviera

The Disney Wonder returns to San Diego for an extended season from March to May 2019, with a variety of cruises to Mexico where Disney Cruise Line guests can enjoy vibrant culture, stunning beaches, exciting water activities, cliff diving and ziplining through the jungle. Onboard two-, four-, five- and seven-night voyages, unparalleled fun awaits the entire family.

Most sailings to Mexico's Baja peninsula call on the charming coastal city of Ensenada, known as the "Cinderella of the Pacific" with its turquoise blue water and rugged mountainous terrain. Two-night cruises to Ensenada boast Friday departures from San Diego, giving guests the ultimate weekend getaway to experience world-class entertainment aboard the Disney Wonder.

Four- and five-night Baja options include a visit to Cabo San Lucas, a destination favored for its arid climate and sunny weather, dotted with dramatic rock formations and bordered by white-sand beaches.

Seven-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera call on Cabo San Lucas and feature the snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots of Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlán. These week-long cruises offer Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to make magical memories together while soaking up the history and Old World charm of Mexico's Pacific Coast and taking in the beauty of stunning beaches and the nearby Sierra Madre Mountains.

San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Southern Caribbean

In January, three special Disney Wonder cruises from San Juan sail to the Southern Caribbean, visiting tropical destinations renowned for beautiful sun-kissed beaches and warm azure waters. On the six- and seven-night sailings, Disney Cruise Line guests can dive into charming island cultures, sunbathe on golden beaches and revel in local marketplaces.

The Disney Wonder arrives to San Juan after a five-night journey departing Jan. 9 from Galveston, Texas, with a stop in Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Feb. 3, a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Florida, just an hour away from Walt Disney World Resort—the perfect stop for a fairytale land and sea adventure.

Port Canaveral to Bahamas and Eastern and Western Caribbean

With three Disney ships in port and cruise lengths spanning three, four and seven nights, vacationers looking for a getaway in early 2019 have a full menu of options from Port Canaveral, near Orlando, Florida. Every sailing includes a day at Castaway Cay, where only Disney Cruise Line guests can enjoy splashtacular fun at Castaway Family Beach or escape to the secluded, adults-only Serenity Bay.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Caribbean voyages, with Eastern Caribbean itineraries visiting the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises calling on Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Falmouth.

The Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay, and the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries throughout February.

Miami to Bahamas and Western Caribbean

To kick off 2019, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus five-night Western Caribbean cruises.

The magical shores of Castaway Cay await guests aboard every one of these Disney Magic sailings. Other ports of call on the Bahamian voyages include Nassau and Key West, Florida, while a stop in Grand Cayman or Cozumel headlines the Western Caribbean itineraries.

Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun Retrofitted with Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems
Norwegian Cruise Line announced today the successful completion of the retrofitting of a new Exhaust Gas Cleaning system on two of its ships, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Jade. In conjunction with the line's Sail & Sustain environmental program, the new systems are aimed at significantly reducing air emissions and, subsequently, the ships' environmental footprints. Early in 2014, Norwegian Cruise Line was the first cruise line to commit to retrofitting six vessels and has exceeded that commitment with now eight total ships.

With the installation of the new technology into two more ships, Norwegian Cruise Line is continuing to exemplify its commitment of applying safe and conservative environmental practices across the fleet. The ships’ new lightweight in-line scrubbers are a hybrid technology developed by Yara Marine Technologies that are able to operate in open loop, closed loop and closed loop with bleed off mode. In each ship, five scrubbers were installed, one per engine, covering the whole propulsion system. Collectively, they are capable of reducing the emission of sulfur to air up to 99 percent and also reduce 85 percent particulate emission to the air. Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun’s new technology will reduce the equivalent of approximately 3,000 tons of Sulfur Oxide, SOx, gas in the years to come.

The new system works by “scrubbing away” the sulfur oxide and particulate matter before the emissions leave the stack to decrease the amount that is released into the air, resulting in a clean white plume of steam.

Norwegian led the industry by being the first cruise line to install scrubbers with a state-of-the-art water membranes filtration unit in 2016. This sophisticated water cleaning system uses Ultrafiltration technology to clean the recirculated water during the closed loop operation down to clear water. The by-product is collected and removed in drums.

As part of Sail & Sustain, Norwegian’s Safety and Environmental Protection Policy establishes several objectives relating to the environment, which include reducing the impact of its operations on the environment, disposing garbage and waste materials in accordance with national and international rules and regulations, recycling and re-using materials and establishing specific objectives and targets for continual improvement of environmental management programs.

Norwegian now has eight ships outfitted with Gas Scrubbers technology, with Norwegian Jade and Norwegian Sun joining Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Gem, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Joy and Pride of America and the line’s newest ship sailing in June 2018, Norwegian Bliss. Norwegian Cruise Line is on track to meet its MARPOL Annex VI compliance goal of reducing its global sulfur cap from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent by 2020.

American Cruise Lines Triples Capacity in the Entire Pacific Northwest
American Cruise Lines announces two new itineraries for 2018 in Puget Sound—5-day Highlights of Puget Sound and 11-day Grand Puget Sound. These spectacular cruises are roundtrip from Seattle, WA, and will triple the Line's capacity in the region, as the Line already offers a popular 8-day cruise to Puget Sound & the San Juan Islands and cruises to Alaska.

Earlier this year, American Cruise Lines announced it was sending its newest ship, American Constellation to Alaska for the 2018 season, doubling the Line's capacity there. The new ship will enable the Line to offer these two new itineraries in Puget Sound, positioning it to meet the industry's hot demand for cruise travel to Alaska and the entire Pacific Northwest.

The Pacific Northwest is one of the world's most majestic cruising destinations. The abbreviated Highlights of Puget Sound cruise includes ports-of-call such as, Anacortes, Friday Harbor, and Port Townsend. The Grand Puget Sound itinerary spans a longer journey and cruises the San Juan Islands, including additional ports of call such as Olympia, Tacoma, and Victoria, British Columbia.

"The Pacific Northwest is one of the most captivating locations in the United States and we are thrilled to be able to offer so many unique itinerary options aboard the newest ship in the region." says Timothy Beebe, Vice President of American Cruise Lines.

American Constellation will transition to the west coast in time to sail several of the 8-day Tulip Festival cruises on Puget Sound in April, before it heads to Alaska for the summer season. The new Grand Puget Sound and Highlights of Puget Sound cruises will start in the fall. Each itinerary offers award-winning enrichment programs and guided tours at each port, as well as onboard historians, naturalists, and local experts.

Carnival Names Richard Pruitt VP Evironmental Operations
Richard Pruitt, a highly respected and seasoned cruise industry professional, has been named vice president, environmental operations at Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line effective November 20, 2017. He will report to Mark Jackson, senior vice president, technical operations, for Carnival Cruise Line.

As vice president of environmental operations, Pruitt will be focused on further strengthening and expanding the company’s shipboard and shoreside environmental programs and practices.

“Rich is extremely well respected in the industry and we’re thrilled to gain his exceptional knowledge, expertise and leadership,” said Jackson. “We look forward to tapping into his experience to ensure we maintain the highest level of operational standards.”

Previously Pruitt was at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. for 13 years, serving in a variety of positions, including associate vice president/vice president, safety and environmental stewardship and as the director and associate vice president of environmental programs. Most recently, Pruitt served as the principal and founder of RMP Sustainability, a company providing consulting services on environmental equipment marketing, compliance and sustainability initiatives to industry associations and companies.

Pruitt began his career in the U.S. Air Force where he spent 10 years as an Airborne Russian Linguist and Mission Supervisor. He then served for 13 years in the U.S Coast Guard in various roles, including program manager, passenger vessel safety and security.

Since 2010 Pruitt has been an active guardian ad litem for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida, and has served on the board/executive committee of several organizations, including Florida Ocean Alliance, Florida Sea Grant Advisory Council, Florida Oceans and Coastal Council, U.S. N.O.A.A. National Marine Sanctuary Business Advisory Council, International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators and the North American Marine Environment Protection Association. He was chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association’s Maritime Safety and Environmental committees, and founding board member of Voices for Children Broward.

Pruitt holds an Environmental MBA from Florida Atlantic University, a BA degree in Management from National Louis University and an AA degree in Russian Interpreting from the Community College of the Air Force.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.02 - 0.12
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.99 + 0.21%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.06 - 1.90%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.80 + 2.01

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was first cruise ship fitted with a podded propulsion system, and what year did that ship enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
A number of famous liners operated with four funnels (Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Kronprinzessin Cecilie, and France of 1912 to name a few...) but only one passenger ship operated with FIVE funnels. Name that ship and the year she entered service.

Answer - The first(and only) ship to operate with five funnels was the 700 foot long GREAT EASTERN which entered service in 1860
courtesy of Jonathan Miller.


Cruise News - October 23, 2017

Carnival Horizon Atrium Sculpture To Feature Artwork Created By St. Jude Hospital Patients
Carnival Cruise Line announced today that the massive LED "Dreamscape" atrium sculpture on the new Carnival Horizon will feature colorful, custom-designed artwork created by patients of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital when the 133,500-ton ship debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

The eye-catching three-deck high centerpiece in Carnival Horizon's atrium will feature 33 different artistic creations from patients of St. Jude, one of Carnival's largest charitable partners.

The announcement was made at Carnival's Day of Play, an annual event held for children and their families at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee. The theme of this year's event was Carnival Playtime and kids and their families enjoyed popular games like Sorry! Guess Who, and Yahtzee inspired by Hasbro, The Game Show, featured on board Carnival ships. Face-painting, arts and crafts, and Carnival-themed giveaways were also offered.

Designed by Techno Media, Dreamscape is a uniquely designed, 24-foot funnel-shaped centerpiece comprised of more than 2,000 flexible LED tiles that have been customized for the shipboard environment. Each day, technicians on board program the rotating artwork based on the time of day, port or occasion.

The young artists were tasked with creating fun pieces with bright bold colors showcasing their personalities. The original St. Jude creations complement the more than 100 images that continually rotate throughout the day and evening bringing the ship to life and providing guests of all ages with a unique and memorable vacation backdrop.

Carnival's partnership with St. Jude began in 2010 and was expanded in 2013 with the cruise line being named the hospital's official celebration partner. Over the past seven years, Carnival has raised more than $13 million for St. Jude through a range of engaging activities, both on board and ashore.

"As the hospital's Official Celebration Partner, we couldn't be happier to showcase these amazing creations designed by the talented St. Jude patients on our newest ship," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We are always looking to bring to life our partnerships in a way that also gives back. We do that on each cruise with Groove for St. Jude and we did it on Carnival Vista with Brownie Buoy, a specially designed flavor with proceeds benefiting the hospital. This is just another way to recognize the work St. Jude's does for the families and patients they serve."

"Featuring the inspirational artwork of St. Jude patients in the Carnival Horizon atrium is an extraordinary example of how Carnival Cruise Line continues to find creative ways to raise awareness of our mission to find cures and save the lives of children," said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "Carnival has been a dedicated and deeply engaged partner of St. Jude for the past seven years – providing exciting and memorable experiences for patients and raising significant funds critical to advance the research and treatment of childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. We are truly grateful for their longstanding support."

Carnival Horizon will offer a variety of onboard innovations, including the first-ever Dr. Seuss-themed water park as well as a groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, and an IMAX Theatre.

A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Azamara Announces New Destinations For Azamara Pursuit
Azamara Club Cruises, the cruise line known for its Destination Immersion programming, today revealed its 2018-19 sailings for the brand's newest addition, Azamara PursuitSM. The Azamara Pursuit, announced in September, joins sister ships Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey in providing guests with one-of-a-kind curated experiences and access to some of the most exotic destinations around the globe.

"We're thrilled to announce Azamara Pursuit's voyages," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "By expanding our destination offerings, guests will be able to experience even more regions of the world and revisit regions we haven't been to in some time now." Building on the Azamara brand promise, Pimentel continued, "Like its sisters, Azamara Pursuit will take guests to the most uniquely curated destination experiences."

Azamara Pursuit will increase the brand's destination offerings by 40% and will add 61 more destinations. Guests will also stay longer and experience more with 48 late nights and 26 overnights. Guests will get to experience some of the most unique destinations worldwide, including 15 maiden calls:

• Agadir, Morocco
• Monemvasia, Greece
• Antofagasta, Chile
• Pisco (San Martin), Peru
• Chilean Fjords
• Salaverry (Trujillo), Peru
• Cruising Beagle Channel
• Samos, Greece
• Fowey, United Kingdom
• San Antonio, Chile
• Laguna San Rafael, Chile
• Seyðisfjörður, Iceland
• Lima (Callao), Peru
• Spetses, Greece
• Maceió, Brazil

Azamara Pursuit will feature some of the most attractive and jaw-dropping experiences in key ports of South America and Europe.

Travelers sailing through South America will dock in marquee destinations such as Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, while also traversing through scenic channels such as the Fjords of Chile and Ushuaia, Argentina, the furthest south deep-water port. Guests can also expect holiday stops in Rio de Janeiro for New Year's Eve 2018 and for Carnaval in 2019. Like all Azamara voyages, the South American voyages will fully immerse guests in the most photo-worthy experiences, including:

Stargazing in Atacama Desert (Antofagasta, Chile): Sit back, look up and enjoy the peace, vastness and beauty of the stars in the Atacama Desert, the world's driest desert. Our three-day/two-night stargazing experience offers unparalleled views of millions of tiny diamonds against a black sky. Considered one of the best locations on earth to appreciate the Milky Way's brilliant collection of stars. Azamara will take you via chartered plane from Antofagasta to San Pedro de Atacama for a two-night stay at the 5-star Tierra Atacama (or similar). You'll visit Moon Valley, Quitor Fortress, Toconao Village & Chaxa Lagoon, then fly from Calama to La Serena via Santiago (on commercial air).

Casa de Aliaga (Lima, Peru): Guests will explore and embrace Peru when they dine in the oldest inhabited house in all of the Americas. This manor was built in 1536 during the Spanish conquest expedition of Peru. Your 17th generation family member and host will share this rich history of her family's manor and the experiences of living there since she was seven.

A Culinary Experience in Bohemian Barranco (Lima, Peru): As one of the world's top culinary destinations, guests will join a local foodie in Bohemian Barranco for a truly local experience. Walk through a typical Peruvian market, experience inspiring flavors and even prepare their own trademark Peruvian dishes like ceviche, while sipping Pisco Sours.

Yoga in the Paracas Desert (Pisco, Peru): While sailing on Azamara's South American itineraries through its Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM experience, travelers are in touch with nature and oneself as they take part in open-air yoga classes at Atenas Beach in the Paracas National Reserve.

Azamara continues to enhance their authentic Europe experiences by adding additional ports that bigger ships can not visit, including:

Inside the Volcano (Reykjavik, Iceland): Take an elevator into the magma chamber of dormant volcano, Thrihnukagigur - once filled with hot lava. The Three Peaks Crater erupted 4,000 years ago and is truly a unique natural phenomenon.

Cruise Global Stay Local – (Akureyri, Iceland to Seydisfjordur, Iceland): In a 2days/1 night excursion, guests can enjoy spectacular views of the Godafoss waterfall (the "Waterfall of the Gods"). See the natural wonders of Lake Mývatn including Skútustaðir craters, Dimmuborgir lava labyrinth and Námaskarð thermal field before ending the day in total relaxation at Mývatn Nature Baths health spa. Float in the bubbling warm lagoon or relax with a natural sulfur-free steam bath as you experience true calm. On day two, guests will also travel alongside Jökulsárgljúfur Glacial canyon to Seyðisfjörður, to see the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. Passing Húsavík village, they'll visit Hljóðaklettar and their echoing cliffs known for basalt columns. This place is known to be the meeting place of the pagan Gods. The last stop on this one-night excursion will be at Dettifoss waterfall, the biggest waterfall in Iceland and believed to be the most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Greece Day Tour (Nauplion, Greece): Guests will visit the Monastery of St. John (Prodromos), built on the side of a rock face around 1167. They'll enjoy a spectacular Greek lunch at a wealthy Arcadian mansion of the 1840's, where guests will meet with the hotel owners.

Followed by a complimentary AzAmazing Evening in Rhodes, Greece where they'll spend the evening at Tafros Theater seeing an exclusive performance of the ancient Greek drama, Antigone by Sophocles (in English).

Azamara Pursuit is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, allowing guests access to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will now offer guests the opportunity to visit 7 continents and 217 ports from August 28, 2018 to April 5, 2019.

Cunard Returns to Alaska in 2019
In 2019, Cunard will sail to Alaska, bringing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest to guests once again. A series of voyages beginning in May 2019 will combine the magnificence of Alaska with the luxury of Cunard as Queen Elizabeth sails from Japan to Alaska and then remains in the region through June. The ship will then transport passengers down the West Coast of the United States, through the Panama Canal to New York, on to Iceland and the British Isles.

Cunard is thrilled to make our return to Alaska with our youngest ship Queen Elizabeth," said Josh Leibowitz, Senior VP, Cunard North America. "Our guests can now explore the region on the best itinerary in Alaska—four 10-night round-trip Vancouver sailings with more time in port and opportunities to visit the natural wonders of Tracy Arm Fjord and Hubbard Glacier."

To start the Alaska program, Queen Elizabeth will sail from Tokyo (Yokohama) to Vancouver with a 27-night voyage on May 5, 2019 (Q915). Guests will cross the International Date Line sailing to the Alaskan port of Kodiak, home to the Alutiiq people for more than 7,000 years. The next stop is the beautiful capital of Juneau, then passing the pristine Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm, on to the quaint town of Skagway, and Icy Strait Point before visiting Sitka, Ketchikan, Victoria and Vancouver. Launch fares from $4,409 per person.

Once in Alaska, Queen Elizabeth will offer four 10-night roundtrip Vancouver sailings, departing May 21, 31, June 10 and 20, 2019. Itineraries feature scenic cruising through the scenic waterways of the famous Inside Passage as well as full days in several of the region's highlight ports to discover the history and culture of the area. Guests will experience the gold rush spirit of Skagway and Juneau, the native tribes of Ketchikan and the Russian charm of Sitka. The itinerary also includes the Tracy Arm Fjord or Endicott Arm, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier and Victoria. Launch fares from $1,699 per person.

From Vancouver, Queen Elizabeth heads to the vibrant cities of San Francisco and then Los Angeles, for a rare overnight stay on July Fourth, a perfect way to celebrate the diverse beauty of North America.

MSC Cruises Launches Second World Cruise
MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe and South America, announced today the opening of sales for its second world cruise, setting sail in 2020 on board MSC Magnifica. MSC Voyagers Club members can begin booking today, and all other passengers can book beginning November 23.

The 2020 MSC World Cruise boasts a new itinerary that includes more exotic, bucket-list destinations than ever before, with more than 40 ports of call and 23 countries. With four different embarkation ports and dates to kick off the three-month voyage, travelers can select their ideal starting point for a more customized vacation experience. Guests will make their travel dreams come true by crossing the globe without ever needing to leave the comfort of their staterooms. And, on board the stunning MSC Magnifica, they will be able to journey from country to country in the style and comfort that only MSC Cruises delivers.

"Following the highly successful launch of our first MSC World Cruise last year, due to set to sail in January 2019, we are now delighted to open sales for a new world cruise for 2020 developed to offer guests experiences and destinations that they will never forget," said Gianni Onorato, chief executive officer of MSC Cruises. "In addition, the experience onboard MSC Magnifica – one of the jewels of our fleet - has been designed to reflect the cultures and cuisines of the countries that the ship visits, giving guests the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in a true around the world voyage of discovery both on board and on shore."

Guests embarking from Civitavecchia/Rome, Genoa, Marseille and Barcelona on the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th of January 2020 respectively will cross five continents on a three-month voyage of discovery to some of the world's most talked-about destinations. Travelers embarking on January 4, 2020 will actually be able to enjoy the ship one day early before official departure on January 5. To offer even more opportunities to explore, eight destinations will include an overnight stay in port, giving guests up to two days to experience the local attractions, cuisine and unique atmosphere.

The 2020 MSC World Cruise will visit 43 destinations in total, many of which are brand new, exotic destinations including, among many others:

• Ushuaia, Argentina – As the most southern city in the world, this Argentinian fishing village offers stunning water scenery with often snow-topped mountains.

• Rapa Nui / Easter Island – This island is famed globally for its unique collection of carved-stone figurines dating back to the 13th century.

• Darwin, Australia – Located at the northern tip of the country, the region allows guest to experience the true Australia – beaches, lagoons, sports and local wildlife, all within close proximity.

• Valparaiso, Chile – This city is famed for its small colored houses on its coastal hills, and guests can get a spectacular view out into the Pacific or explore the city, searching for its photo-worthy murals.

• Mumbai/Bombay, India – The bustling city of Mumbai (previously called Bombay) offers smells, tastes and sights around every corner.

• Salalah, Oman – With multiple waterfalls, exotic lush flora and unusual animals, this stop will be hard to forget.

MSC Cruises is known for providing authentic experiences through its wide range of shore excursions that allow guests to get closer to the action, discover new cultures and visit unique locations. The 2020 MSC World Cruise is no different, and to help guests make the most of their voyage, 15 shore excursions are included in the cost of the booking with additional excursions available to book in advance or during the cruise.

Highlights of these excursions include:

• In Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, guests can visit 'Turtle Bay' where it will be easy to understand the reason for the name. Participants can swim up-close and personal with two different breeds of turtles as well as possibly other marine life such as stingrays, manta rays, sharks and dolphins.

• In Aqaba, Petra, visitors can explore the ancient city of Petra in the middle of the Jordanian desert and traverse the narrow cut-through ravine revealing the famous rose-red rock carved temple.

• In Port Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, travelers can reach the peak of one of the world's most famous (and tallest) skyscrapers as you reach the top of the Kuala Lumpur Tower. From the top, guests can take in the breathtaking city views from above and capture the perfect vacation photos.

Guests on the World Cruise will also benefit from:

• A complimentary Mealtime Restaurant Drinks Package, which includes unlimited wine, mineral water, draft beer, sodas and fruit juices during lunch and dinner in the main dining room and buffet

• A 30% reduction on all laundry services More than 90 shows performed in the ship's Royal Theatre, including 30 Broadway-style shows and a wide range of live music, including acts inspired by the itinerary

• A comprehensive activity schedule with theme evenings, language classes, cultural guest speakers and much more

Guests will travel in style and comfort aboard MSC Magnifica, featuring an award-winning Balinese spa, one of the highest ratios of balcony staterooms at sea and fresh and authentic dining options that are a key feature of a MSC Cruises getaway.

Viking Orders Seven New River Ships For 2019
Viking today announced it has placed an order for seven new river ships that will debut in 2019. The newbuild order includes six additional Viking Longships, which will sail the company's most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, and one additional vessel, inspired by the Longships and specifically designed for Portugal's Douro River. This announcement comes on the heels of Viking being named the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication's 2017 Readers' Choice Awards. With the addition of the new river ships, Viking will operate a fleet of 69 river vessels around the world in 2019. Also by 2019, Viking will welcome its sixth ocean ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line.

"We knew there was an opportunity to do things differently when we started this company 20 years ago," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "In the last two decades, we have led the industry to define what modern river cruising looks like today. We continue to lead the industry with the largest fleet, the widest selection of itineraries and stateroom categories, and the most awards of any river cruise line. The Viking way of exploration has resonated with our target audience of experienced travelers, and this new ship order is a reflection of strong demand for more destination-focused cruises."

Of the seven vessels on order for 2019, six are Viking Longships, which have amassed a long list of prestigious awards since their debut. Viking's accolades include recognition by the editors of Cruise Critic as "Best River Cruise Line" and "Best River Itineraries," with the entire Viking Longships fleet being named "Best New River Ships" in the website's "Editors' Picks Awards." More recently, Viking topped USA Today's annual Readers' Choice Cruise Poll for "Best River Cruise Line," and was named "Best Danube River Cruise Operator" in AFAR magazine's 2017 Travelers' Choice Awards.

Viking Longships integrate a patented corridor design and cutting-edge technology with comfortable amenities that reflect guest preferences and current travel trends. These features include a revolutionary all-weather indoor/outdoor Aquavit Terrace that reinvents the onboard lounge experience by bringing the panoramic outdoor river scenery indoors with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass doors and allows guests to enjoy the views and dine al fresco.

Accommodating 190 passengers in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships have a patented layout that allows for two Explorer Suites – the largest river cruise suites in Europe – as well as seven two-room Veranda Suites with a full-size veranda in the living room and a French balcony in the bedroom; 39 Veranda Staterooms with full-size verandas; and 22 French Balcony Staterooms. Staterooms include comfortable amenities such as hotel-style beds, heated bathroom floors, mini fridge, and both U.S. and EU outlets. Additionally, all Viking Longships have sustainability upgrades, such as onboard solar panels and organic herb gardens, and energy-efficient hybrid engines that also reduce vibrations for a remarkably smooth ride.

Viking's additional ship on order for 2019 will be designed specifically for the company's Portugal's River of Gold itinerary. As a result of high customer demand, the new sister ship will join Viking's existing fleet of three ships on the Douro. Hosting 106 passengers in 53 staterooms, the Douro ships are smaller than Viking Longships, but feature many of the same popular features – including an Aquavit Terrace, a wide variety of stateroom choices, onboard solar panels and an organic herb garden, as well as Viking's signature Scandinavian design aesthetic.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.10 - 3.14
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 121.74 - 4.44%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.10 + 0.96%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.72 - 8.83

Cruise News Trivia Question:
A number of famous liners operated with four funnels (Titanic, Olympic, Lusitania, Mauretania, Kronprinzessin Cecilie, and France of 1912 to name a few...) but only one passenger ship operated with FIVE funnels. Name that ship and the year she entered service.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Holland America's Rotterdam of 1959 (now a museum ship/hotel in Rotterdam) had a unique central staircase that allowed first class and tourist class passengers to use the the stairs at the same time without ever meeting each other. How was this feat accomplished and what was the inspiration for this design feature?

Answer - The Rotterdam of 1959 had a staircase that comprised of two inter-spiralling staircases that allowed both first class and tourist class to travel vertically and permitted them to access their own grade of deck. This feature was copied from the Chateau de Chambord in France.
courtesy of Les Grant.


Cruise News - October 16, 2017

FEMA Charters Carnival Fascination For Hurricane Relief, Cruises Cancelled
Carnival announced this week that in response to a request for proposal from the U.S government, Carnival Cruise Line finalized an agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on October 11 for a four-month charter of the cruise ship Carnival Fascination. Per FEMA’s request, the ship will be docked in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and will provide housing and meals for relief workers. The duration of the charter is from October 15, 2017 to February 3, 2018.

As a result, Carnival has cancelled cruises that were scheduled to operate on Carnival Fascination which is normally homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Guests on cancelled voyages will receive a full refund along with a future cruise discount for the disruption in their vacation plans.

Carnival Cruise Line’s history is deeply linked to the Caribbean and our ships have been sailing within the region for more than 45 years. We are pleased to be partnering with FEMA on this charter in support of the ongoing relief efforts in the Caribbean. Likewise, we sincerely apologize to our guests who were booked on impacted cruises over the next few months. We know this change in plans is going to cause some disappointment and inconvenience and we thank them for their understanding.

Refunds will be automatically processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. We have reached out to our airline partners to request their cooperation in waiving change fees and will also be working with our guests on non-refundable airline change fees. Carnival Fascination will return to normal cruise service sailing year-round from San Juan to the Southern Caribbean on February 18, 2018 following a drydock in the Grand Bahama shipyard where she will receive a number of new features including Guy’s Burger joint and Blue Iguana Cantina among other highlights.

Royal Caribbean Sets Return To St. Thomas
A sweet reunion is in sight; Royal Caribbean International has set the date for its much-awaited return to St. Thomas since the Caribbean destination was impacted by the hurricanes last month. On Nov. 10, the cruise line will make its way to St. Thomas for the first time since early September with Adventure of the Seas.

In partnership with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Royal Caribbean also has committed to undertaking the complete restoration of Magens Bay, one of St. Thomas' most popular tourist attractions – with plans for a grand re-opening of the pristine destination during Adventure of the Seas' visit on Nov. 10. With power and water to the island fully restored and most downtown shops, restaurants and bars and tour operators fully operational, guests will be able to experience a diverse and extensive array of dining, shopping and activities. Guests can enjoy boat and catamaran excursions to explore the turquoise blue waters and abundant sea life of the Caribbean and soak in the sun at some of the region's best beach destinations: Secret Sands Beach, Secret Harbor Beach Club, Lindquist Beach, Abi Beach and Honeymoon Beach on Water Island.

"We are very excited to get back home to our friends in St. Thomas. The Caribbean is our family, having cruised there for nearly 50 years, and the long-standing relationships created in all this time are unwavering," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We are committed to doing everything we can to help and proud to support the restoration of the iconic Magens Bay."

In addition to returning to St. Thomas on Nov. 10, Royal Caribbean has committed to returning to San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Maarten by the end of November and is working closely with local governments to announce the exact dates.

By December 1, all scheduled calls to the three islands will operate as planned – including calls from the world's largest cruise ships each sailing with nearly 6,000 new visitors each week – Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

MSC Announces New Features for China-Bound Splendida
When the MSC Splendida arrives in China next May, it will bring with it a number of fresh, new features for the Chinese cruise market following a November refurbishment. The Lirica, which is currently based in China, will move back to Europe next April as MSC, like many other lines, makes capacity adjustments in China.

Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises, said: "We have always considered China as a key part of our global strategy. We are excited to see that after 10 years of growth, the Chinese cruise market has entered an era in which cruisers seek nothing but high-quality holiday time, a brand new era that requires a brand new style. MSC Splendida’s deployment to China represents the second step we take to better serve this market. It is also a further testimony of our long-term commitment to establishing a strong presence in this key market. In fact, since she came into service, she has been the most popular ship for our Chinese guests cruising the Mediterranean area. This is the reason why we decided to deploy her here in China: we know that Chinese guests love her, so we bring her to their home."

Aboard the Splendida, MSC will add a new signature restaurant curated by famous chef Jereme Leung. The company announced the news on Wednesday at an event in Shanghai.

"It has been my long-held dream to open a restaurant on a cruise ship. MSC Cruises’ passion for the sea, pursuit of craftsmanship, attention to detail and quality and innovative spirit are well matched with my passion for cuisine. It’s a privilege to renew my partnership with MSC Cruises on the MSC Splendida. With our joint efforts, I’m confident that this restaurant will offer a culinary experience comparable to that of any high-end restaurant I have opened onshore," said Leung.

MSC is also developing a customized “MSC for Me” program for the Chinese market in collaboration with Deloitte, to suit the likes of the new age Chinese customers.

MSC also announced a new China ambassador as well: Liu Ye, a Chinese actor, and his wife Anais Martane.

Among the big news is a new artificial intelligence translation installation across the ship, which will utlize the WiFi network to help guests and crew communicate. The system has been developed in conjunction with Baidu, a leading Chinese search engine, and Tuge, a technology outfit.

"Traditional translation devices require the user to input their choice of language, but this new system will automatically identify the languages spoken and to be translated. We hope it will allow guests to interact seamlessly with the multi-national crew onboard," said Heng Zhang, founder and CEO of Tuge

"MSC is the first cruise in the world to have an artificial intelligence translation system aboard. And we are still researching how to use it optimally for our Chinese guests onboard MSC Splendida next year," said Helen Huang, president of Greater China for MSC.

MSC Splendida will depart from Dubai in March 2018 and travel along the silk road maritime route to arrive in Shanghai next May.

Celebrity Announces 2019 European Itineraries
From Athens to Barcelona to Reykjavik, Celebrity Cruises has all of Europe covered with the brand’s award-winning fleet that delivers unrivaled modern luxury vacations. In 2019, Celebrity will have five stunning ships, including the newest, Celebrity Edge, sailing in the region.

With stops in 27 different countries, overnight stays in 16 cities, and visits to more than 90 ports of call – including three brand new Celebrity-first ports of call: Nauplion, Greece; Rijeka, Croatia; and Santa Margherita, Italy – there’s no better way to experience Europe than with Celebrity.

“From our expansive new itineraries, including three exciting new ports of call and overnights in 16 cities across the region, to our specially curated shore excursions, there’s a reason we’re continually recognized as the ‘Best Cruise Line In Europe[1]’,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises.

As revealed today by Lutoff-Perlo at an exclusive event in London’s Somerset House, Celebrity Edge will be transporting guests to the stunning vistas of the Mediterranean with a range of seven- to 11-night sailings from iconic cities like Barcelona and Rome in 2019. The itineraries will also feature two of the new ports of call: Nauplion, Greece – a charming coastal town with a Greek island-feel – and Santa Margherita, Italy – a picturesque seaside town near Portofino.

With its revolutionary, outward-facing design – highlighted by signature features such as the Magic Carpet and the Edge Stateroom with Infinite Veranda – Europe has never seen a ship like Celebrity Edge before, and guests will have never seen Europe like they will on Celebrity Edge.

In addition to Celebrity Edge, the modern luxury brand will also occupy the region with four more award-winning vessels, including Celebrity Infinity, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Reflection, and Celebrity Silhouette. There really is no better way to experience Europe than with Celebrity.

In 2019, Celebrity Infinity will return to Europe for the first time since 2014, offering seven- to 12-night itineraries with visits to some of the most popular countries in the region, including Italy, Malta, Greece, and Croatia.

With alternating seven-night sailings from Venice to Rome and Rome to Venice, Celebrity Infinity offers travelers the flexibility to create even more immersive vacations by booking back-to-back itineraries for a 14-night tour of the Mediterranean. These combined sailings have no repeat stops along the way and include an exciting overnight stay in the gorgeous city of Venice.

Celebrity Constellation will also be returning to Europe in 2019 with exciting new itineraries, including visits to a brand-new port of call, Rijeka, Croatia. Modern luxury explorers will be able to choose from a variety of nine- and 10-night itineraries sailing from Venice, Barcelona, and Rome; Celebrity Constellation will immerse guests along the Dalmatian Coast, the French Riviera, Italy, Spain, and the sun-soaked Greek Isles. The alternating sailings offers guests the opportunity to book nine- and 10-night itineraries back-to-back, creating unbelievable journeys across Europe.

For the 2019 season, Celebrity Reflection will call Dublin and Amsterdam home and offer a wide range of itineraries for unparalleled European vacations, with eight- to 12-night sailings across northern Europe, from the British Isles to Scandinavia, Russia, and Iceland.

Travelers will visit iconic ports of call across the region, including Reykjavik, Iceland; Lerwick, Scotland; Belfast, Northern Ireland; the Norwegian Fjords; St. Petersburg, Russia; and many more, including overnight stays in Dublin.

Celebrity Silhouette returns to Southampton in 2019 to offer a variety of three- to 14-night sailings to some of the most iconic destinations in Europe, including Scandinavia to Russia, the Norwegian Fjords, Ireland, and Iceland. Guests will enjoy overnight stays in St. Petersburg, Russia, where they can enjoy everything from the Russian Ballet to visits to the Hermitage and the famous palaces of the Russian nobility.

Other exciting cities along Celebrity Silhouette’s Scandinavian season include Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Tallinn. The ship will also venture to Ireland and Iceland for adventurous 12- and 14-night sailings.

Princess Cruises Announces Third Annual Culinary Cruise Series
Princess Cruises has officially announced its third annual Culinary Cruise Series, featuring famed Miami-based chefs Brad Kilgore and Scott Linquist. Sailing on Regal Princess out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. from February 11 – 18, 2018 to the Western Caribbean, these two chefs will team up to offer guests a variety of curated culinary experiences and demonstrations for travelers looking for an exclusive foodie experience.

This seven-day, four-port Western Caribbean cruise will include a selection of daily activities and adventures for cruisers to participate in with the acclaimed chefs. Guests will be able to participate in chef-led cooking demonstrations, cookbook signings, Q+A sessions, experience special menus featured throughout the ship's restaurant and bars, and learn valuable cuisine skills to bring home with them.

Guests will also be able to explore parts of the Caribbean and Mexico alongside these chefs as each lead a customized excursion. Noted for his Mexican cuisine, Chef Linquist will lead the Cozumel excursion in Mexico, while Chef Kilgore will lead the Jamaican excursion. Other port stops include Princess Cays Bahamas and Grand Cayman.

"Dining onboard a Princess cruise ship is a culinary journey from the food made from scratch to the award-winning chef partnerships we have on board," said Gordon Ho, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Princess Cruises. "For this unique cruise experience, Chef Kilgore and Chef Linquist will bring their food experience —both in and out of the kitchen—to excite and educate our guests."

Named Food & Wine's 2016 Best New Chef, Brad Kilgore launched onto Miami's culinary scene in 2015 with the opening of Alter in Miami's hottest new neighborhood – Wynwood. After winning countless awards with Alter including Restaurant of the Year by Eater, he set his sights on Downtown Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center and opened BRAVA by Brad Kilgore inside the famed cultural institution. Showing no signs of slowing down, Kilgore plans to debut two new restaurants in Miami in the next coming year. Bringing his progressive American cuisine to Regal Princess, Kilgore will showcase some of his favorites including Short Rib Wellington with Truffled Mushrooms and Free-Range Chicken, with Popcorn Hollandaise.

"What an opportunity to showcase my dishes to the guests of Regal Princess," exclaimed Chef Brad Kilgore. "The setting provides an opportunity to share my experience, my style of cooking, and my passion for food in a very intimate way."

Joining Chef Brad Kilgore will be fellow Miami-based Chef Scott Linquist. Linquist, founder of the wildly successful Coyo Taco located in Miami's buzzing Brickell Financial District, as well as famed Wynwood arts district, will bring his upscale Mexican flair to the seven-day excursion featuring some of his most unique taco creations such as Coyo's charred octopus tacos with salsa veracruzana and pickled jalapeños. Chef Linquist plans to expand the success of Coyo Taco with new locations coming in Miami Beach, West Palm Beach and Panama.

"I am proud to represent the expanding Miami food scene to the Princess Cruises guest," said Chef Scott Linquist. "I love cooking, teaching and interacting with passionate food lovers."

Adding a touch of sweetness to this cruise will be one of Princess Cruises culinary partners, Norman Love, owner of Norman Love Confections, based in Fort Myers, FL. Trained in France, and named the Inaugural Inductee into the Chocolatier Hall of Fame by Dessert Professional Magazine, Love's creations blend premium quality chocolate, unique flavors and artful designs that are perfect for chocolate lovers. Love will be leading several cooking demonstrations and curate chocolate tastings.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.24 + 2.69%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 127.39 + 2.30%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.08 + 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 58.92 + 0.05

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Holland America's Rotterdam of 1959 (now a museum ship/hotel in Rotterdam) had a unique central staircase that allowed first class and tourist class passengers to use the the stairs at the same time without ever meeting each other. How was this feat accomplished and what was the inspiration for this design feature?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
October 25, 1986 was the end of an era for Cunard Line. What was the significance of that date?

Answer - October 25, 1986 was the last day that the Cunard Liner Queen Elizabeth 2, known affectionately as the QE2, operated as a steamship. During a 6 month long refit she was re-engined as a diesel-electric liner capable of attaining a speed of 32 knots. In reverse she could attain 19 knots faster than most liners could go forward at that time. I know for a fact having been on board her first Caribbean cruise after the refit she did attain 32 knots sailing from St. Lucia to St. Thomas having left St. Lucia several hours late.
courtesy of Larry P. Macdonald, Belmont, MA USA.


Cruise News - October 9, 2017

Royal Caribbean Reveals New Features Of The World's Largest Cruise Ship, Symphony of the Seas
Royal Caribbean International has orchestrated a new vacation experience that is set to redefine family and adventure travel in 2018. Symphony of the Seas, the cruise line's newest ship, brings together the award-winning and acclaimed features only found on Royal Caribbean, with distinct new experiences that will continue to inspire adventure among guests of all ages. New dining concepts and family activities, awe-inspiring theater, aerial, ice and aqua entertainment, and the most dynamic suite in family travel will join the lineup of Royal Caribbean exclusives – such as the robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar, powered by Makr Shakr; the iconic AquaTheater showcasing unrivaled high-flying, high-diving performances; and the Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea – for a thrilling crescendo of diverse experiences, all set in the unique seven-neighborhood concept of the award-winning Oasis-class ships.

Symphony of the Seas will claim the title of the largest cruise ship in the world when she debuts in April 2018 for her inaugural season in Europe. The architectural marvel will accommodate more balcony staterooms overlooking the open ocean and legendary Boardwalk and Central Park neighborhoods than her popular sister ship Harmony of the Seas. But there is much more to this ship than her impressive size.

"We're excited to introduce Symphony of the Seas, our boldest composition yet, offering the best of Royal Caribbean with some new surprises for our guests to create a vacation that adventurers of all ages can enjoy together," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "We set out to create a new level of vacation adventure and deliver the ultimate escape for families of all shapes and sizes. Symphony will introduce the most cutting-edge, customizable, and digitally-enhanced experiences in the Royal Caribbean fleet."

Boardwalk Reimagined - Symphony of the Seas will introduce the new generation of Royal Caribbean's famed Boardwalk neighborhood, infused with new energy, interactive experiences and lively venues conceptualized for endless entertainment for all ages. Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade will be the place to watch the "big game" from around the world across 30 big-screen TVs, ensuring everyone has the best seat in the house to cheer on their favorite team.

Spanning the length of the Boardwalk, the vibrant sports bar and arcade will be a hot spot for families to enjoy wings, burgers and craft beer on draft, as well as friendly competitions of Ms. Pacman, Star Wars Battle Pod, Ice Skee-ball and other popular games. Across the way, aptly adjacent to the Boardwalk's iconic hand-carved carousel, Sugar Beach candy and ice-cream shop will bring a sugar high of sweet treats to adults and kids alike, enticing them with colorful candy-packed walls and tempting ice cream and toppings galore. The sweetest spot on the high seas also will feature family-friendly activities for aspirational bakers.

The highly anticipated additions to the Boardwalk will round out the signature offerings that propelled the neighborhood's popularity. The Ultimate Abyss will catapult only the brave from the tallest slide at sea into the heart of the Boardwalk to revel in their adrenaline rush. Johnny Rockets is where indulgences of burgers, fries and milkshakes will be celebrated with 1950s diner music and entertainment. The awe-inspiring AquaTheater will activate the ocean backdrop and starry nights with a breathtaking show of aquatic acrobatics and stunning high-diving aerial performances found only on Symphony of the Seas.

The Ultimate Family Suite - Symphony will introduce the world's most adventurous and interactive family suite. The next generation of family accommodations, the two-level Ultimate Family Suite is a dream come true for kids of all ages and will debut eye-popping features, including: an exclusive slide from the kid's only bedroom to the living room below; a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, an air-hockey table and hidden nooks for chilling.

A separate 3D movie theater-style TV room, complete with a popcorn machine and a library of video games across multiple gaming systems will bring a new level of euphoria and competition to gamers in every family. And that's just the inside; the 212-square-foot wraparound balcony touts a bumper pool table, a climbing experience and a full-size whirlpool that will provide unmatched ocean views. The Ultimate Family Suite spans 1,346 square feet, accommodating a family of up to eight in two bedrooms, and uses every inch of space to activate the imagination and provide the most brag-worthy accommodations imaginable. And if that wasn't enough, guests in the Ultimate Family Suite will have their own personal Royal Genie to take care of their every need while they enjoy all the services and premium amenities of the Royal Suite Class. This ultimate expression of family vacation indulgence joins the wide variety of contemporary suite accommodations available throughout the ship, from the Loft Suites with their breathtaking views to the spacious multi-room Owner's Suites.

All New Culinary Creations - Symphony will debut new food and beverage concepts adding to an already diverse lineup of more than 20 specialty and complimentary restaurants across the ship's seven neighborhoods. Hooked Seafood, Royal Caribbean's first New England-style seafood restaurant, will feature fresh seafood and a robust raw bar complete with oysters shucked to order. Located at the front of the ship in the Solarium, the casually sophisticated restaurant will offer expansive views of the open water, serving lunch and dinner. El Loco Fresh will offer mouthwatering made-to-order tacos, burritos and other popular Mexican fare. The open-air restaurant in the Sports Zone will seat more than 100 guests.

The cruise line's signature culinary favorites, including Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park with its American seasonal menu, Park Café and Izumi Hibachi and Sushi, also will introduce refreshed designs and new menu specialties on Symphony, offering guests the widest choice and variety of dining options.

Entertainment Elevated - Royal Caribbean's unparalleled entertainment will once again raise the bar, touting immersive shows where theater magic extends beyond the stage and into the audience. Back by popular demand, the hugely successful "Hairspray" – the brand's first Broadway musical at sea – will return on Symphony with a total refresh to headline the Royal Theater along with a new original Royal Caribbean show, "Flight," a historical satire on the evolution of air travel that ends with homage to the famed Wright Brothers. In the iconic AquaTheater open-air amphitheater, a new aqua show, "HiRo," offers serious wow factor with high-diving and acrobatics. Studio B will showcase a new time-travel adventure. A high-tech ice-skating show,"1977" will bring guests to London on the eve of the Queen's Silver Jubilee when her Crown Jewels are stolen in the heist of the century.

For thrilling live-action adventure at sea, guests can gear up for an epic glow-in-the-dark laser tag experience like no other. State-of-the-art technology and special effects will transform Studio B into the world's largest and ultimate laser tag arena as family, friends and foes battle over the fate of the last planet in the galaxy. Vacationers looking for a challenge can experience a new Puzzle Break experience on Symphony, where teams will race against the clock and learn to work together toward a common goal – to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

All New Mobile Check-in Debuts on Symphony - The latest technological innovations will be integrated throughout Symphony, including a redesigned check-in experience that eliminates lines and bypasses the counter. The new process will leverage a combination of facial recognition, bar codes and beacons to make boarding fast and frictionless.

Guests will check-in via the brand's new mobile app and seamlessly upload their security "selfie" to create their onboard account from the comfort of their home. Upon arrival, guests will go through a security screening and then head straight to their stateroom, where their key will be ready and waiting. In addition to mobile check-in, Symphony will feature all of the pioneering and award-winning guest technology the cruise line is known for, including VOOM – the fastest internet at sea, state-of-the-art wayfinding and virtual balconies.

Seven Neighborhoods in Perfect Sync - One ship, seven distinctive neighborhoods for families to explore together or individually, Symphony is the ultimate playground for guests of all ages, with new surprises at every turn.

• Boardwalk – Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and the Sugar Beach candy and ice-cream shop bring a new spin to this outdoor space inspired by the nostalgic seaside piers of yesteryear. The Boardwalk, with its original hand-carved carousel, will offer classic family fun combined with a high-energy vibe felt throughout its casual eateries, retail shops and activities for a day of family fun. The signature AquaTheater, located at the stern of the ship with a distinct ocean backdrop, is a dazzling amphitheater-style venue where guests can experience stunning aquatic acrobatics and high-diving aerial performances.

• Central Park – With more than 12,000 lush tropical plants, this open-air neighborhood is a serene retreat that features meandering walkways with quiet nooks for reading and relaxing, retail boutiques and specialty restaurants including Chops Grille, Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver, 150 Central Park and Vintages wine bar. The expanded Park Café, with its communal table and additional outdoor bistro seating overlooking a central piazza, is the perfect spot for meeting friends and people watching.

• Entertainment Place – A contemporary night club district, where more intimate venues cater to different moods and preferences, is anchored by Casino Royale, which will take the title of the largest casino at sea, and Studio B, home to a full-scale ice rink and newly introduced glow-in-the-dark laser tag game. The Attic exudes the vibe of a downtown comedy club and transforms into a lounge for late-night drinks and dancing, while Jazz on 4 features live jazz and blues performances with the convenience of table service for couples and groups.

• Pool and Sports Zone – Home to the ship's most active adventures, including the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest slide at sea, The Perfect Storm trio of waterslides, two FlowRider surf simulators, a mini-golf course, a nine-deck-high zip line, and the beach pool, plus the all new El Loco Fresh restaurant.

• Royal Promenade – Dining, bar-hopping and shopping abound on this bustling main street at sea. The Promenade features a café, the industry-changing robot bartenders at the Bionic Bar, powered by Makr Shakr, and the Rising Tide Bar that transports guests up to Central Park.

• Youth Zone – From adventurous tots to teens, young travelers can dive into the widest array of youth facilities and innovative programming at sea, including a yet-to-be-revealed new Puzzle Break challenge where teams will race against the clock to escape the submarine-themed room before time runs out.

• Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center – Chill out or work out at the largest spa and fitness center on the high seas.

Celebrity Cruises to Offer Legal Same-Sex Marriages Onboard
Today, Celebrity Cruises announced that same-sex marriages performed onboard are now legally recognized, marking a historic first for the modern luxury brand.

The motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country's parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opens the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard, and have the fleet's captains officiate the ceremonies.

"Celebrity Cruises has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I cannot think of a more important time in our history than right now to do all we can to support inclusion. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that starting today, we welcome same-sex couples to marry on our ships while in international waters," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "This is one for the history books!"

"Celebrity Weddings has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal," said Barbara Whitehall, Managing Director, The Wedding Experience. "We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters."

The Celebrity Weddings program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator's services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, bottle of Champagne, a bouquet and boutonniere, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony.

Viking Names Godmother to Viking Orion
Viking today announced that American chemist, emergency room physician and recently retired NASA astronaut Dr. Anna Fisher will be honored as godmother to its fifth ocean ship, which will debut in July 2018. The new ship has been named Viking Orion after the prominent constellation and in honor of Dr. Fisher's contributions to NASA's Orion exploration vehicle project. The announcement was first made by Viking Chairman, Torstein Hagen, during a press conference in New York City celebrating the first call in Manhattan for the company's third ship, Viking Sky

The 930-guest Viking Orion reached a major construction milestone last week, when the ship met water for the first time during her "float out" ceremony at Fincantieri's Ancona shipyard. Dr. Fisher attended the September 28 ceremony and assisted with several maritime traditions. Viking Orion will spend her maiden year sailing itineraries in the Mediterranean, before making her way to Asia, Australia and then Alaska.

"Vikings were the original long-distance explorers and the first to use the stars and constellations as a way to navigate uncharted territory," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "The spirit of exploration is at the heart of everything we do, and so I am especially proud that an astronaut will be honored as godmother to our new ship. Dr. Fisher is a past Viking guest, a fellow scientist and a true explorer. As one of the first women in space, she has inspired generations of curious minds, and I look forward to welcoming guests onboard Viking Orion to learn more about her impressive career in space exploration."

"The idea of exploring new territories has always appealed to me, whether through science or by traveling the world. I was 12 years old when I heard Alan Shepard's voice on the radio during his sub orbital flight, and at that moment, I knew that I also wanted to explore beyond earth's atmosphere. I knew from that young age that I wanted to be an astronaut," said Dr. Fisher. "I always wanted to be an explorer and I am proud and honored to be godmother to Viking Orion – a ship that was designed to help her guests see more of the world."

A float out ceremony is significant because it denotes the first time a ship touches water and moves into its final stage of construction. Viking Orion's float out began at approximately 11:00 a.m. local time, and in keeping with maritime tradition, Dr. Fisher, as godmother to the ship, assisted with the ceremony, first "mast stepping," by welding coins under the ship mast. The commemorative coins she welded represented her birth year, as well as the birth year of Chairman Hagen. Two special coins were also welded to represent members of the Hagen family: 1911 to represent Ragnhild "Mamsen" Hagen, the mother of Chairman Hagen, and 2012 to represent Finse, the yellow Labrador of Karine Hagen, Viking's senior vice president and daughter of Torstein Hagen. Dr. Fisher then cut a cord to allow water to begin flowing into the ship's building dock. Following a two-day process that set Viking Orion afloat, the ship was then moved to a nearby outfitting dock for final construction and interior build-out.

Dr. Anna Fisher, Godmother of Viking Orion - Born in New York City and raised in Southern California, Dr. Fisher holds bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry, as well as a Doctor of Medicine degree, from the University of California, Los Angeles. Selected as an astronaut in January 1978, Dr. Fisher was one of the "original six" women accepted into NASA's Astronaut Training Program. Dr. Fisher became the first mother in space when she served as a mission specialist on STS-51A aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery, which launched on November 8, 1984. During her NASA career, which spanned more than three decades, Dr. Fisher contributed to three major initiatives: the Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station and Orion, NASA's new crew-rated exploration spacecraft. Prior to her retirement in April 2017, Dr. Fisher was also the oldest active American astronaut. In celebration of her retirement, Dr. Fisher sailed on Viking's Rhine Getaway itinerary in July 2017.

Viking Orion - Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, have 465 cabins and accommodate 930 guests. Viking Orion, formerly known as Viking Spirit, is the fifth of eight ocean cruise ships currently planned for the fleet. By 2019 Viking will welcome its sixth ship and will become the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features understated elegance and modern Scandinavian design. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from a 270 sq. ft. Veranda Stateroom, all with private verandas and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, large showers, luxury toiletries, heated bathroom floors and large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer sweeping views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category onboard.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa onboard is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow and designed in the Scandinavian spirit, for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer multiple restaurant locations and food choices—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and the widest choice of culinary options, and the World Café, which serves international fare and regional specialties—to intimate dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu complete with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. Additionally, The Kitchen Table focuses on regional dishes from market to table; the Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers; afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden; and Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea.

• Enriching Entertainment: Connecting guests to their destinations through authentic experiences is central to Viking in creating "the thinking person's cruise." Instead of casinos and water slides, guests are offered Viking's Culture Curriculum including: world-class lectures on history and art; personalized opportunities for learning with the Viking Resident Historian program; tasting of vintage wines from their destinations; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; enriching Destination Performances featuring folkloric shows and musicians playing regional and classical music; an onboard cooking school allowing guests to learn how to prepare local specialties. Onboard Viking Orion, guests will also enjoy lectures on astronomy and space exploration.

• Sustainable Features: Designed with the environment in mind, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that minimizes exhaust pollution and meets the strictest environmental regulations.

Majestic Princess’ to Offer New Departures from Taiwan and Australia
Starting late February 2018, Princess Cruises' newest and most luxurious cruise ship, Majestic Princess, will take guests from close-to-home departure ports in Asia to experience destinations in the region and Australasia.

The third ship in the Royal class of ships, the 3,560-guest Majestic Princess was launched in March 2017. It is tailored specifically for the Asian market, representing the newest and largest ships in the Princess Cruises fleet. The fourth Royal-class ship is scheduled for delivery in 2019.

Due to the popularity of Majestic Princess' Asian features, the ship will be on homeporting in Taiwan with sailings to Japan from April to July 2018, after which she will be deployed in Australia from September 2018 through March 2019.

"Guests will no longer need to travel to Europe or the Americas to experience cruises on a Royal-Class ship offering luxurious accommodation and world-class facilities. Taiwan, Japan and Australasia are very popular cruise destinations amongst guests in this region as these ports are closer to home and easy to reach. As such, these new itineraries are expected to be very well-received," said Mr. Farriek Tawfik, Director Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises.

On 25 February 2018, Majestic Princess will embark on a 14-day Grand Asia voyages sailing between Shanghai and Singapore, visiting Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand along the way, including late night calls in Hong Kong. The return voyage to Shanghai will depart Singapore on 11 March, 2018.

From April to July 2018, Majestic Princess will be homeporting in Keelung (Taipei) offering 3- to 4-day sailings to Okinawa and Ishigaki, and 5- to 7-day voyages calling at an array of ports in Japan such as Kagoshima, Ishigaki, Kochi, Hiroshima and Miyazaki.

The highlight of this Taipei season will be two special 6 to 7-night Majestic Spring Flowers' sailings from Taipei to Nagasaki, Sakaiminato, Busan, Kagoshima, Tokushima, Osaka and Miyazaki.

On 24 August 2018, Majestic Princess will sail on a 20-day Asia and Australia voyage from Shanghai and call into ports in South Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Darwin, and Brisbane, and guests can also opt to sail into Sydney.

From September 2018 until March 2019, Majestic Princess will homeport in Sydney and offer 6 to 13-day itineraries, calling into ports at destinations around Australia as well as New Zealand, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific. Some of the highlights are the Fiordland National Park Scenic Cruising and the various ports in Tasmania.

Majestic Princess boasts the largest duty free shopping onboard any cruise ship, with nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques. In addition to Harmony Restaurant and La Mer French bistro offering menus created by Michelin star-awarded chefs, casual eateries including Chopsticks Noodle Bar and Lobster & Dim Sum bar; karaoke suites; the glass-domed Hollywood Pool Club which turns into a nightclub at night; ballroom dancing classes and other facilities catering to Asian guests.

The SeaWalk, a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway onboard Majestic Princess, is also the first of its kind at sea, exclusively on Royal class ships. At 18m long, cantilevered 39m above the waves and extending 8.5m beyond the edge of the ship, it boasts thrilling views of the seascape.

Guy Fieri's 'Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse' To Debut Aboard New Carnival Horizon
Guy Fieri – a member of the American Royal National Barbecue Hall of Fame whose namesake burger joints are featured on 19 Carnival Cruise Line ships – will introduce a brand new full-service barbecue venue aboard Carnival Horizon when it debuts in spring 2018. An expansion of Fieri's casual barbecue eateries on several Carnival ships, Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse combines the best of both worlds: authentic, down-home smoked-on-board barbecue and traditional sides created by the renowned chef, along with a selection of distinctive craft beers brewed on board at a brewery located within the restaurant.

The announcement will be made by Fieri at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas during the "Carnival's BBQ Challenge with Guy Fieri" event during which kids from the local 4H Club were tasked to come up with unique barbecue recipes inspired by Pig & Anchor. The three finalists will each receive a free cruise and Carnival is making a $20,000 donation to the 4H Club of Texas in support of its mission of engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development.

Diners are encouraged to have lots of napkins ready as they enjoy Guy's Smokehouse favorites such as brisket custom-smoked for 12 hours, Memphis-style baby back ribs, dry-rubbed and grill-finished chicken, pulled pork, and cedar-smoked salmon with an apricot glaze, all cooked "low and slow" using Fieri's signature rubs and spices. All Smoke House items are served with coleslaw, sweet pickles, and golden honey cornbread or Texas toast.

The restaurant will also offer Fieri's signature dishes like Dragon Chili Cheese Fries featuring smoked beef brisket, cheddar cheese, onions and jalapenos; Trash Can Nachos topped with pulled pork, Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ sauce and melted cheese; and The Smokehouse Melt, with pulled pork, sliced brisket, double smoked pork belly bacon, two slices of cheddar cheese, homemade pickles and donkey sauce.

Side dishes are just as tantalizing with Fieri-created favorites like the Longhorn Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Beer-Braised Cowboy Pinto Beans, Sweet Potato Bourbon Mash, Mashed Potatoes with Red Eye Gravy and Burnt Ends, and Buttermilk Broccoli Salad with Bacon and Almonds.

BBQ fans can spice up their dishes with the chef's own sauces, including Kansas City (smoky and sweet), Sriracha BBQ (spicy and tangy), Carolina #6 (tangy and sweet heat) and award-winning Bourbon Brown Sugar (sweet and sticky), along with exclusive-to-Carnival sauces like Smokey Chipotle, Gold Coast Yellow Mustard, Black Pepper, and Burning Tomato.

Paired perfectly with barbecue is a delicious and refreshing craft beer created by Carnival's award-winning beverage team which includes Colin Presby, the only brew master in the North American cruise industry. Presby and team are developing four distinctive micro-brews specifically designed to pair with the venue's wide-ranging menu. Specific details will be announced at a later date.

Decadent desserts like freshly baked cobbler, piled-high banana cream pie and gooey pecan pie offer a sweet conclusion to a satisfying and memorable meal.

"I'm excited about launching my newest shipboard eatery at Carnival," said Fieri. "I know what it takes to make real-deal barbecue – quality meats smoked 'low and slow' and top-notch sides using the freshest ingredients. And when you combine down-home barbecue with a cold beer brewed right on board, you have a truly outta bounds experience!"

Added Carnival's Director of Specialty Dining Greg Poplewko, "Guy has been a great partner for the past six years and his new Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse aboard the new Carnival Horizon is the perfect expansion of our partnership, offering lip-smacking barbecue and refreshing craft beers enjoyed in a fun and festive atmosphere."

The new 138-seat BBQ venue will be located along the ship's Promenade with indoor and outdoor seating and authentic touches like ceiling tiles made of weathered galvanized siding, red brick walls, hardwood floors and booth and high-top seating with Fieri's signature FLAVORTOWN catch phrase illuminating the full-service bar.

The restaurant will be open from 5 pm 'til late every night of the cruise with menu items offered on an a la carte basis and live music nightly. Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse will offer a free-of-charge self-service BBQ lunch buffet from noon to 2:30 p.m. on embarkation day and sea days.

Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse|Brewhouse will be among the dozens of different dining and beverage venues available aboard Carnival Horizon. These include the line's first teppanyaki restaurant, the Cucina del Capitano family-style Italian restaurant, the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, the Mexican-themed BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic tacos and burritos, the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano, and the New England-inspired Seafood Shack.

Other features include the groundbreaking bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction called SkyRide, an IMAX Theatre, and the first Dr. Seuss-themed water park at sea

A wide range of accommodations will also be offered, including spa cabins with exclusive privileges at the luxurious Cloud 9 Spa, extra-roomy staterooms in Family Harbor, and tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites with exclusive daytime access to a Cuban-themed bar and pool.

Carnival Horizon is scheduled to make its maiden voyage April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port. Carnival Horizon will reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.45 + 3.14%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 124.53 + 4.54%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.08 + 3.48%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 58.89 + 8.21

Cruise News Trivia Question:
October 25, 1986 was the end of an era for Cunard Line. What was the significance of that date?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise line used the comedian Victor Borge as their spokesperson?

Answer - Norwegian Caribbean Cruise Line used the comedian Victor Borge as their spokesperson in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
courtesy of P. Lindgren, New York, NY.


Cruise News - October 2, 2017

Carnival Elation Undergoing Extensive Renovation
Carnival Elation is in the final stages of a multi-million-dollar makeover that includes the addition of an expansive new WaterWorks park, 38 new cabins, 98 balconies to existing staterooms, and a variety exciting food and beverage concepts.

Following the extensive renovation, Carnival Elation will resume its year-round schedule of four- to eight-day cruises from Jacksonville, Fla., Oct. 7. The ship's new features include:

• Guy's Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef's California roots and love of car culture.

• RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival's own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

• BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.

• BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin' by the pool.

• Camp Ocean: a colorful marine-inspired play area designed for kids ages 2-11 that showcases the wonders of the sea through fun and engaging interiors and more than 200 ocean-themed activities, including arts and crafts, science-oriented programming, and more.

• New Cabins, Stateroom Enhancements: Thirty-eight cabins have been added – two Grand Vista suites offering floor-to-ceiling windows, 22 junior suites, two scenic ocean view cabins and 12 interior accommodations. Additionally, private verandahs have been added to 98 existing staterooms, creating spacious new 230-square-foot balcony staterooms. All staterooms will offer new island-inspired interiors with bright colors and soothing pastels inspired by Carnival Elation's tropical itineraries.

• WaterWorks: Located on Verandah Deck, this expansive all-ages water park features an enclosed 300-foot-long Twister water slide full of exhilarating twists and turns, two 82-foot-long racing slides, and a splash zone for kids.

• Mini-Golf Course: A nine-hole miniature golf course has been relocated to Deck 14, providing a fun and relaxing pastime for families to enjoy in the fresh sea air.

Carnival is Jacksonville's only year-round cruise ship offering four- and five-day cruises to The Bahamas featuring stops at Freeport, Nassau and the private destinations of Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays. Carnival Elation will also offer a special six-day Bahamas cruise and an eight-day Bermuda voyage in April 2018 as well as a one-time seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise the following month.

Norwegian Breakaway to Homeport in New Orleans for Winter 2018/19 Season
Norwegian Breakaway will reposition from the Big Apple to the Big Easy for her winter 2018/19 season and cruise to the Caribbean, visiting ports of call including Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; George Town, Grand Cayman; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and the beautiful island destination of Harvest Caye, Belize. Harvest Caye offers a diverse, enriching experience highlighting the natural beauty and culture of Belize along with lush native landscaping, a swim up pool bar, luxury beach villas, private pool cabanas, thrilling aerial activities and water sports. The destination also features first ever pier in Belize that allows guests to walk straight off the ship and into paradise. Norwegian Gem, a fan favorite Jewel-class ship, will now sail from New York City for the winter 2018/19 season.

“Norwegian Breakaway will be the largest and newest ship from Norwegian to sail from New Orleans, and we are thrilled to bring our signature Breakaway-class ship to this important homeport,” said Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We want to provide more opportunities for our guests across the country to explore beautiful destinations and enjoy all the spectacular features of our newest ships, along with the freedom and flexibility that only a Norwegian cruise can offer.”

With the overwhelming positive response to Norwegian Bliss’ deployment to the West Coast next year, Norwegian is providing guests another new departure port for guests to experience Norwegian’s signature cruise vacation. By repositioning the 145,655 gross ton Norwegian Breakaway to New Orleans, Norwegian is offering a more convenient departure port along with a newer and larger ship for cruisers sailing from the Crescent City to explore. Norwegian Breakaway will delight cruisers of all ages, as she features a wide variety of accommodations, from Studios for the solo cruiser to the exclusive, all-suite luxurious enclave, The Haven by Norwegian; more than 25 different dining venues; an exhilarating aqua park with five slides and a thrilling ropes course with zip lines and The Plank; signature Broadway entertainment including Rock of Ages and so much more. Norwegian Breakaway, which debuted in 2013, was the first ship in the line’s signature Breakaway class, and features The Waterfront, a quarter-mile promenade deck with waterfront dining, shopping and entertainment, along with 678 Ocean Place, a three-story complex at the heart of the ship where guests can enjoy nightlife, gaming and more. The ship will undergo a two-week dry dock next spring, and will receive a full refresh in public spaces, including new flooring, updated furniture, new décor and new carpeting in staterooms. Norwegian Breakaway will arrive in her new homeport of New Orleans on November 11, 2018 and will sail a variety of cruises to the Caribbean through April 7, 2019.

“The Port of New Orleans values our close partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line and appreciates the addition of the Norwegian Breakaway to the cruise schedule next year. The passengers who begin and end their Norwegian Breakaway cruise from our historical city will experience Port NOLA’s commitment to high level service and the Crescent City’s vibrant energy,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port of New Orleans President and CEO. “Our cruise business contributes significantly to the hospitality industry’s regional economic impact and we are pleased to welcome the largest ship we have ever accommodated.”

The recently refurbished Norwegian Gem will remain in New York City and sail a series of cruises to the Caribbean, Canada & New England and the Bahamas & Florida. She will share her Manhattan homeport with Norwegian Escape, which will reposition for summer 2018 for the first time since she was christened in 2015, sailing from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises every Sunday beginning April 22, 2018. Norwegian Escape features entertainment from the Tony-award winning After Midnight and critically-acclaimed For the Record: The Brat Pack, along with a bevy of food and beverage concepts including the District Brewhouse featuring 25 beers on tap and including a selection of popular craft beers; the upscale food emporium, Food Republic; and The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine bar.

Guests currently booked onboard Norwegian Gem from New Orleans will have their reservations protected and will be automatically moved to the new vessel and itinerary. Norwegian Breakaway’s new Caribbean itineraries from New Orleans will open for sale on October 24.

RCI's Independence of the Seas Scheduled For Multi-million Dollar Makeover
Royal Caribbean International today announced new features that will make Independence of the Seas even more extraordinary than she already is when she sets sail in summer 2018 following a multi-million dollar makeover.

Independence will boast lots of new and exciting activities like the interactive aqua park Splashaway Bay, which will be bigger and better than ever before and feature waterslides, water cannons, fountains, pools and the child-favourite drench bucket.

Extending the speciality dining options onboard, Izumi, the exotic Asian-inspired dining experience, will be introduced to Independence, giving guests the chance to enjoy fresh sushi and experience skilled hibachi chefs cooking tableside on Teppanyaki grills.

Breathtakingly beautiful new lounges and Panoramic Ocean View staterooms will add an extra bit of extraordinary to Independence. With stunning wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling views, guests can soak up the feeling of standing on the bridge of the ship and watching the sunset over the coastline, all from the privacy of their own stateroom.

Sailing from Southampton after her incredible makeover in summer 2018, Independence will have an all-improved ice rink, as well as a revamped theatre ready to wow with the much-loved Broadway show, Grease.

This news follows the announcement that features including an escape room, a trampoline zone, and a laser tag arena, are confirmed as part of the makeover plans.

Koncept Stockholm to Design the Interiors of Viking Line's New Vessel
Viking Line has ordered a new passenger vessel with delivery expected in 2020. It has now been disclosed that the new vessel, which will sail from Turku (Finland) via Åland to Stockholm, will have interiors designed by the Swedish architecture firm Koncept Stockholm. Koncept Stockholm previously did the interiors for the Stockholm hotel Haymarket by Scandic.

Viking Line is pioneering environmental advances in the Baltic Sea. In 2013, the world's first large passenger vessel powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) made its debut, in the form of Viking Grace. Since then, the Company has been planning for the next vessel powered by natural gas, the objective being to further reduce its environmental impact on this sensitive body of water. Viking Line's new vessel will be delivered in 2020, and the task of designing the interiors has been awarded to the Swedish architecture firm Koncept Stockholm.

"The choice was between a number of highly respected architecture firms, and Koncept Stockholm stood out with its attractive combination of Scandinavian simplicity and playfulness. It is also important to Viking Line that the architects contribute to an appealing travel experience that works for cruise passengers, families with children, conference guests and the substantial cargo traffic between the two countries. This is a challenge that we foresee Koncept Stockholm handling with a sense of flair and great skill. We have also taken into consideration our international guests, who perhaps have never before experienced archipelago scenery like ours, by taking a further step in prioritising views of the sea and archipelagos," says Jan Hanses, president and chief executive officer of Viking Line.

The architecture firm Koncept Stockholm has a group of ten people already working full-speed to create the cruise experience of the future. This work is being led by Niclas Makowsky and Ann Marie Ekroth, who previously headed other interior design projects such as Haymarket and Grand Central by Scandic as well as Copperhill Mountain Lodge in the Swedish resort of Åre.

"We are very proud to be chosen as architects and are now taking all our experience from exciting, successful projects for hotels, bars, spas and shops across the Nordic countries with us on board this passenger vessel. We want to enhance the experience of travelling through some of the world's most beautiful archipelagos by offering a range of rich and varied experiences on board the vessel inspired by marine life and the Nordic world," says Niclas Makowsky, from Koncept Stockholm.

Viking Line's new vessel will be 218 metres in length with a gross registered tonnage of 63,000 tonnes and capacity for 2,800 passengers. The length of its cargo lanes will be 1,500 metres. The vessel is being built by Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co., Ltd in China and is a collaborative project in which the plan is to engage a number of Finnish and other European contractors.

Carnival Corporation Will Deliver Best Wi-Fi in Cruise Industry
Carnival Corporation today announced MedallionNet, a game-changing connectivity service enabled by SES Networks that will deliver the best Wi-Fi experience in the cruise industry. MedallionNet will provide guests with easy-to-access Wi-Fi that features exceptional speeds and bandwidth, pervasive stateroom signal strength and unprecedented service consistency.

The connectivity service – to be delivered in connection with SES Networks, a business unit of SES (PAR/LuxSE: SESG) – will collectively leverage the leading global satellite operator's geostationary earth orbit (GEO) and medium-earth orbit (MEO) constellations, managed services, antenna and shipboard technology to significantly enhance the guest experience by providing high-performance and reliable broadband connectivity at sea. This innovative service is enabled by hardware and software shipboard technology advances associated with Carnival Corporation's proprietary O·C·E·A·N Experience Platform.

"Staying connected is inextricably linked to our daily life experiences and that now extends to the vacation experience, even when sailing in the middle of the sea," said John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation. "MedallionNet will set the new standard for Wi-Fi service at sea and we look forward to rolling it out to our guests. Our top priority is doing everything we can to exceed guest expectations, and by listening closely to our guests, we know Wi-Fi connectivity is important to many of our guests. For guests who want to disconnect, they are free to do so. But for those who want to stay connected, MedallionNet will make it easy for them – and that includes being able to easily send photos, videos and messages letting everyone know they are having a fabulous vacation."

MedallionNet is another development to emerge from Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation Center located in Miami and is the first end-to-end Wi-Fi service development formulated with a focus on exceeding guest expectations through "GuestCentricity™" – an initiative to enhance all aspects of the vacation experience by delivering guests what they want, when, where and how they want it.

"SES Networks is privileged to be associated with Carnival Corporation's Global Experience and Innovation team and to be powering MedallionNet," said Steve Collar, CEO of SES Networks. "We share Carnival Corporation's passionate focus on connecting people, places and cultures around the world with amazing experiences. As the only company to offer a GEO and MEO constellation, unmatched in scale, performance and technological diversity, SES Networks is uniquely positioned to enable the highest performing Wi-Fi connectivity at sea as well as immersive media and gaming content."

MedallionNet leverages multi-band antennas uniquely configured in an innovative shipboard formation to minimize any potential impact to guest connectivity due to seasonal weather or ship positioning, and it fuses multi-orbit satellite bandwidth to deliver a truly immersive guest connectivity experience.

By combining multiple sources of bandwidth to achieve the highest capacity shipboard network ever brought to a cruise ship with an unprecedented volume of shipboard access points, MedallionNet introduces a level of service reliability and signal pervasiveness not previously achieved on ships sailing at sea.

More specifics about MedallionNet and specific cruise brand implementation will be announced later this year.

Carnival Corporation Announces Commitment to Responsible Chicken Sourcing
Carnival Corporation & plc today announced it will shift purchasing policies across its nine leading cruise line brands by 2024 to improve the welfare of sourced chicken, becoming one of the first companies in the travel industry to commit to adopting comprehensive broiler chicken welfare policies.

Working with animal protection organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and The Humane League, Carnival Corporation is committed to aligning welfare standards for broiler chicken, ensuring that 100 percent of chicken sourced will be certified by the Global Animal Partnership (GAP).

"Carnival Corporation and our brands recognize animal welfare is an important issue for our guests and the general public, as well as us, and by teaming up with leading organizations that have made this commitment to responsible sourcing, we are optimistic that this will help advance broader adoption of these conscientious practices," said Julia Brown, chief procurement officer for Carnival Corporation. "With this latest initiative, we will expand on our responsible sourcing efforts across the corporation by working closely with our suppliers to assure that the broiler chickens we purchase are treated humanely, under appropriate animal welfare standards."

By 2024, Carnival Corporation will require sourced chicken to be GAP-certified and produced under standards that require all chickens to be given more space and enhanced environments – including litter and lighting. Additionally, these new policies will ensure that Carnival Corporation's chicken suppliers process their products in a humane manner through a multi-step controlled-atmosphere system and demonstrate compliance with these standards.

"Carnival Corporation has continued to uphold their position as a leader in the industry on many fronts, including animal welfare," said Joyana Hunt, corporate policy specialist for HSUS. "We applaud the company's commitment to broiler chicken welfare."

This broiler chicken purchasing commitment is the latest stride in Carnival Corporation's continued dedication to addressing animal welfare in its supply chain. In 2015, working with the Humane Society of the United States, Carnival Corporation committed to switching to 100 percent cage-free eggs across all its brands by 2025.

Seabourn Expands Land-Based "Seabourn Journeys"
Seabourn announced this week that it is offering guests lasting memories in exotic locations through its expanded land-based excursion program, Seabourn Journeys . Offering a selection of pre- and post-cruise trip extensions through land-based immersive experiences in remarkable destinations, Seabourn Journeys are available in conjunction with select voyages in 2018 and 2019.

Guests will enjoy captivating experiences of local culture, history, beauty, hospitality and relaxation. The fully-escorted Journeys have been uniquely curated to showcase the very best of the destination they visit and include select meals, transportation, and guided experiences. Luxury hotels and lodges have been hand-selected to offer guests accommodations at the finest iconic properties in the best locations that showcase their indigenous surroundings – all conveniently timed to the start or finish of scheduled Seabourn cruises.

"We are delighted to offer opportunities to extend our on board luxury experience with these new on shore Seabourn Journeys," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Each Seabourn Journey is expertly curated with customized, guide-led tours of the most memorable sites and scenes around the world. They are perfect for luxury travelers desiring a complete and seamless land-and-sea experience."

All Seabourn Journeys are available pre- and post-cruise, with transfers to and from Seabourn ships and various destinations included. Departures on most Journeys are guaranteed with a minimum of two guests*. (*The Denali Experience and South Pole Quest require a minimum of 10 guests.)

The following are 10 Seabourn Journeys currently offered around the world:

• Splendours of Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu (8 day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) – Experience ancient and contemporary culture in the capital of Peru, the former capital of the Inca empire. Highlights include the Church of Santo Domingo and Lima's oldest mansion, 16th century Casa Aliaga; impressive displays of Inca masonry at the Convent of Santo Domingo and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman in Cuzco, as well as the fortress of Ollantaytambo; and mountaintop Machu Picchu, in a class and an altitude by itself.

• Cambodia: Phnom Penh & Temples of Angkor (6 days) – Cambodia's ancient and modern history are on display in Phnom Penh including the Silver Pagoda of the Royal Palace, ancient Khmer art at the National Museum, and infamous Khmer Rouge sites. Explore the complex of Angkor Wat by helicopter and then on foot with a guided tour of the breathtaking ruins including Bayon Temple, fig tree-wrapped Ta Prohm Temple, and other captivating temples including Angkor Thom and Rolous Khmer.

• India's Golden Triangle: The Taj Mahal & Jaipur (6 days) – Tour Old Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque and Chandni Chowk in a cycle rickshaw. In New Delhi, it's the Parliament House, India Gate and more, with dining on heirloom recipes in the elegant residence of a local family. In Agra, marvel at sprawling Agra Fort and the marble mausoleum of the Taj Mahal, then proceed to the Pink City of Jaipur with sites including the ornate Hawa Mahal, the "Palace of Winds". An elephant safari, the Amber Fort, and the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing round out a very full experience.

• Sydney, The Red Centre & Great Barrier Reef (8-day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) –Sydney welcomes with the historic Rocks precinct, the Botanical Garden, and a private tour of the Sydney Opera House. Fly to the Red Centre to tour the 500-mlllion-year-old red rock domes of Kata Tjuta, The Olgas, and catch the sunset over Uluru during the Sounds of Silence experience, which includes an unforgettable dining experience and introduction to Aboriginal culture and a traditional Anangu performance. Take time to explore Uluru by camel, then a sunrise helicopter tour before transferring to Cairns and Port Douglas for the UNESCO World Heritage Daintree National Park, with a cruise on the Daintree River, guided forest walk to the Botanical Ark, and more. Guests then can experience a full day of snorkeling underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef from a luxury catamaran.

• Myanmar: Yangon, Bagan's Temples & Inie Lake (8 day pre-cruise/7-day post-cruise) – Enjoy previously inaccessible Myanmar with access to timeless attractions and unforgettable experiences. In Yangon, visit 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, the 230-foot Reclining Buddha statue, and the magnificent carved Lion's Throne. In Bagan, float over thousands of stupas in a hot-air balloon and visit Shwezigon Pagoda, Kubyaukgyi Temple, Ananda Temple, and Htilominio Temple. At Inle Lake, a boat ride includes views of the gold-leaf Buddhas at Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda and Ngaphechaung Monastery perched on stilts over the lake.

• South Africa: Cape Town & Kruger Park Safari Lodge (7 day pre-cruise/6-day post-cruise) – Enjoy luxury and adventure in South Africa's scenic Cape followed by a multi-day safari experience amid one of Africa's densest concentrations of native wildlife. Pop a cork on Cape Town's oldest wine-producing region, Groot Constantia, and visit Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens under Table Mountain, then head for the top by cable car. See Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, with additional highlights including the Castle of Good Hope and Company Gardens. Then fly to Kruger National Park for a stay at spectacular Singita Lebombo Lodge overlooking the N'wanetsi River, with two game drives daily to see leopard, lion, white and black rhino, elephant, hippo, cheetah and more.

• UNESCO South America: Rio, Iguazú Falls & Buenos Aires (6 days) – Two of South America's most captivating cities bookend this journey to the UNESCO World Heritage natural wonder of Iguazu Falls. In Rio de Janeiro, pass lush Tijuca Rainforest Park crowned by the Christ the Redeemer statue atop Corcovado Peak en route to famed Copacabana Beach. Absorb the earth-shaking roar of Iguazu Falls from a suspended walkway on the Brazilian side with a helicopter ride to dinner to follow. Finally, spend a day in Buenos Aires with Plaza de Mayo, San Telmo and colorful La Boca, and finish with a tango lesson at legendary Café de los Angelitos.

• UNESCO Treasures of China: Beijing, Xi'An & Hong Kong (6 days) – Immerse in the world's oldest civilization with exploration of the captivating contrasts of burgeoning Beijing, the Silk Road outpost of Xi'An, and the glittering melting pot of Hong Kong. Follow a welcome feast of Peking Duck with visits to the UNESCO World Heritage Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, and Forbidden City in Beijing. Observe the dramatic Mutianyu section of the Great Wall by cable car and see highlights of the Beijing Olympic Village. In Xi'An, tour the Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, the Chinese-style Great Mosque, and the ancient City Wall. Then enjoy Hong Kong with tours of a colorful market, the Man Ho Temple and Hollywood Road, as well as scenic views from the Peak Tram.

• The Denali Experience (5 days) – Take in the many natural splendors of Alaska at the highest mountain in North America with travels focused on the looming, snow-capped peak and its National Park. Fly over the Great Gorge of the Ruth Glacier before heading deep into the Park with a guide to spot grizzly and black bears, wolves, moose, caribou and more. After a day at leisure in the Park with many options for activities, ride in a domed observation car on a scenic railway to enjoy celebratory hospitality in Anchorage, viewing unspoiled taiga forest and wild rivers all along the way. *This Journey requires a minimum of 10 guests per departure.

• South Pole Quest (13 days) – A true expedition awaits on the White Continent. From the Chilean capital of Santiago, fly to Punta Arena, staging location for the Antarctic portion of the adventure, then head by plane to Union Glacier Base Camp with a stay in comfortable camp facilities. Expedition guides share knowledge of life in an Antarctic climate and wildlife likely to be encountered. There will be opportunities to explore the glacier including Elephant's Head, Drake Icefall, Hidden Valley and the beach at Rossman Cove. Then board a ski-plane and head for the bottom of the world, with time at the South Pole before return to base camp and Punta Arenas. *This Journey requires a minimum of 10 guests per departure.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 64.43 + 1.46%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.12 + 4.60%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.01 - 1.47%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.42 + 1.53%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise line used the comedian Victor Borge as their spokesperson?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - hese were the German NDL liners BREMEN and EUROPA. BREMEN burned in WWII and became a total loss, while EUROPA had an illustrious second career as the French LIBERTE.

The Germans also had two dedicated seaplane tenders to service these seaplanes. Those vessels were FRIESENLAND and SCHWABENLAND. While SCHWABENLAND was a conversion from a freighter, FRIESENLAND was custom-built and had a very interesting post-war career as SITMAR's passenger-cargo liner CASTEL NEVOSO. In fact she was a reefer-passenger liner! From 1952 to 1968, she sailed with bananas (and some passengers) between Italy and the former Italian colony of Somaliland (present-day Somalia). She was finally broken up at Faslane in 1969, after 32 years of service.
courtesy of Ralph Dazert


Cruise News - September 25, 2017

Cunard Adding A Fourth Ship To The Fleet
Carnival Corporation today announced that it has signed a memorandum of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A. to build a new cruise ship for the company's iconic Cunard brand.

The new ship for Cunard will be built at Fincantieri's shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, with an expected delivery date in 2022. The as-yet-unnamed ship will join Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth as the fourth member of the Cunard fleet, marking the first time since 1998 that the luxury cruise brand will have four ships in simultaneous service.

The new cruise ship will be the 249th ship to fly the Cunard flag since the company's founding in 1839. The 113,000 ton vessel will have a passenger capacity of 3,000. Cunard will announce additional details about the new ship starting in 2018.

With this new ship agreement, Carnival Corporation now has 18 new ships scheduled to be delivered to its portfolio of leading global cruise brands between 2018 and 2022.

"We are very pleased to announce a fourth ship for our immensely popular Cunard brand, which is also one of the most legendary brands in the entire vacation industry," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "Cunard offers a fleet of unrivaled vessels and one of the most unique travel experiences in the world, which together create an enchanting and memorable vacation for our guests. While today's news helps drive Cunard's overall strategic growth plans, we also look forward to launching this next-generation cruise ship to help meet increasing global demand and entice even more travelers to explore the Cunard experience."

Donald added: "Fleet enhancement is an important part of our ongoing goal to exceed guest expectations. This includes replacing less efficient ships with more efficient vessels over time as part of our managed capacity growth."

The new ship agreement to build a fourth ship for Cunard extends the brand's recent strength and momentum in the marketplace, including attracting crowds of more than one million people to celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2015 and investing the equivalent of $172 million U.S. dollars in the past two years to refurbish the flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria. With new destinations, event voyages, bar and dining experiences and brand partners, Cunard continues to evolve its guest experiences to consistently exceed expectations.

"With this agreement we once more link our company's name with Cunard's, a real icon of the cruise market, confirming us as shipbuilders able to combine tradition and innovation like no one else in the world," said Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri. "It is a lasting journey that, besides the construction of the two authentic queens like Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, stresses the importance of our partnership with Carnival Corporation."

Bono concluded: "In fact, we have built 63 ships for Carnival Corporation, representing today almost two-thirds of the company's fleet, with other nine more ships to come in the coming years. A cooperation which can be defined as historical, based on relationships of mutual respect and trust."

Azamara Club Cruises Announces Expansion Of The Fleet
Azamara Club Cruises, the upmarket cruise line subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase a sister ship to Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, with delivery taking place in March 2018.

"We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship," said Larry Pimentel, President and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. "Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them."

The new addition, the Azamara Pursuit, is comparable in size to the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. As such, it will also allow visits to unique ports that larger ships are unable to reach. Together, the three ships will support the brand's commitment to enrich destination immersion around the world, by staying longer in port to allow guests to experience more.

The ship's décor will be updated to match the brand's upmarket position. These updates will be similar to the renovations recently introduced on the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, bringing guests the experience of a boutique hotel at sea.

Information about deployment and itineraries for Azamara Pursuit will be available in October

Viking Takes Delivery Of Fourth Ocean Ship
Viking announced this week that it took delivery of Viking Sun, the company's fourth ocean ship. The delivery ceremony took place this morning when the ship was presented at Fincantieri's shipyard in Ancona, Italy. On October 4, Viking Sun will set sail from Venice, making her way through the Adriatic and Ionian Seas on her maiden voyage. In early November, Viking Sun will cross the Atlantic to sail fall itineraries. On December 15, the ship will embark on Viking's first-ever World Cruise. Over the course of 141 days, Viking Sun will journey around the world, visiting 35 countries and 66 ports, before the itinerary ends in London on May 5, 2018. In 2019, Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on the recently-announced second World Cruise, which spans 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports with 10 port overnights.

"As we celebrate two decades of helping guests travel the world in comfort, this year also marks one of significant growth. We are pleased that with the delivery of Viking Sun we now have four small ships, each carrying only 930 guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking. "With the continued expansion of our offerings, we look forward to bringing guests to more destinations around the world and introducing them to the Viking way of exploration."

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests. Classified by Cruise Critic as a "small ship," the all-veranda Viking Sun is the newest addition to Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, which also includes Viking Star, Viking Sea and Viking Sky. In its first two years of operation, Viking has been rated the #1 ocean cruise line in Travel + Leisure's 2016 and 2017 "World's Best" Awards. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, and by 2019 it will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are also on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from 270 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms, all with private verandas, sweeping views of the destination and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, generously proportioned closets, large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand, unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi and award-winning bathrooms with large showers, premium Freyja bath products developed exclusively for Viking and heated floors.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer expansive views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer eight dining options, all with no additional charge or fee—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a variety of culinary options, and the World Café, which features international fare and regional specialties including a sushi and seafood cold bar—to intimate alternative dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. The Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers, while afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden. Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare, and complimentary 24-hour room service allows all guests to enjoy many signature dishes in the comfort of their stateroom. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea. Additionally, The Kitchen Table specializes in regional dishes from market to table.

• Cultural Enrichment: Viking experiences from ship to shore are designed for unparalleled access and cultural enrichment. Viking Resident Historians deliver high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey, offering invaluable insight in to the rich history of the destination. Guest Lecturers who are experts in their fields shed light on the destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Destination Performances represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region—whether it be Italian opera or Portuguese fado. Resident Classical Musicians—pianists, guitarists, violinists and flautists—perform classical compositions throughout the ships. And Culinary Classes in The Kitchen Table, Viking's onboard cooking school, focus on regional cuisine.

• Nordic Inspiration: Even the smallest details take their inspiration from the exploratory spirit of the original Vikings, reflecting deeply held Nordic traditions. Light wood grains, touches of slate and teak, Swedish limestone and fragrant juniper appear throughout the public spaces and Spa. The Clinker-built design of the Viking Bar mirrors the construction style of the original Viking Longships. A Viking Heritage Center provides history and context from the Viking Age. And characters from Norse Mythology are subtly incorporated into the design, providing curious guests with inspiration to further explore Viking's Nordic heritage.

• Sustainable Features: Designed to be environmentally friendly, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that reduces exhaust pollution and meets the strictest worldwide environmental regulations.

Designed for discerning travelers with interests in history, art, music and cuisine, Chairman Torstein Hagen often says Viking offers guests "the thinking person's cruise" as an alternative to mainstream cruises. Ships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with more time in port and more overnights. On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is both beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light. With the most al fresco dining opportunities at sea, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking's guests can truly dine in their destination. A focus on cultural enrichment brings immersive experiences ashore and on board. And only The Viking Way of Exploration provides guests with itineraries that feature Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access experiences.

NCL Working With Partners To Provide Hurricane Relief
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announced a partnership with All Hands Volunteers, the world’s leading disaster relief organization powered by volunteers, and set a goal to raise $2.5 million for the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program. Under Hope Starts Here, the company is committing to match up to $1.25 million of donations from its valued guests, team members, suppliers and partners in order to substantially help All Hands Volunteers (hands.org), a 501(c)3 non-profit relief organization, and Happy Hearts Fund (happyheartsfund.org) deliver early relief response for the Florida Keys, and rebuild safe, resilient schools in the Caribbean islands impacted by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“We are heartbroken to see the devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria have inflicted on the Florida Keys and several Caribbean islands, where our ships have been visiting since the beginning of our 50 years in business,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “The Caribbean is part of our family, and we are grateful to work with All Hands Volunteers and Happy Hearts Fund to create the Hope Starts Here hurricane relief program and do our part in giving back to these destinations. We’re proud to start our campaign with a $600,000 donation to help begin the rebuilding efforts.”

“We are incredibly grateful for this support from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., and for our continued partnership with Happy Hearts Fund to provide their support and expertise,” said David Campbell, Chairman and Founder of All Hands Volunteers. “As the single largest donation in our organization’s history, this funding could not have come at a more crucial time as we work to rebuild communities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and other Caribbean islands after the destruction brought by recent natural disasters, Hurricanes Irma and Maria. All Hands Volunteers will work together with the local communities to meet their long-term needs and rebuild hope.”

“We are thrilled to receive this donation from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and to work in partnership with All Hands Volunteers with their hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean islands and the Florida Keys,” said Petra Nemcova, Founder of Happy Hearts Fund. “This funding will allow us to together rebuild safe, resilient schools in areas most impacted by recent natural disasters to keep children safe, but also to ensure that these communities are not forgotten when the emergency response efforts are complete. Children often wait four or more years for schools to be rebuilt, and I hope that more companies will take the same thoughtful actions for long-term recovery.”

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. immediately deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring 35 pallets of much-needed supplies and assist in humanitarian efforts to evacuate residents and visitors. Additionally, one of the company’s newest ships, Norwegian Escape, also housed approximately 4,000 displaced guests who were unable to secure flights home due to hurricane closures. The company is continuing to collect essential items, including medical supplies, diapers, baby formula, water, food, construction materials, blankets, sleeping pods and more, and is working with partners on the ground to support disaster relief efforts. To help hurricane relief and recovery, and to make a donation that will be matched by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.,

It's a Pleasure Doing Business at The Meeting Place on Celebrity Edge
Today, Celebrity Cruises redefines what it means to "work remotely" with the reveal of The Meeting Place – a state-of-the-art meeting venue onboard the heralded Celebrity Edge.

Designed by Wilson Butler Architects, the 1,970-square-foot venue commands a central location on the ship, complemented by brilliant, awe-inspiring views like no other meeting space on land or at sea – perfect for any need. With soundproof dividers, advanced audiovisual capabilities, varied seating options, private office space for event planners, dynamic mobile bars set up for food and beverages, and a fully equipped pantry with a bar, the possibilities for this venue are truly endless.

"Of course, the most advanced ship we've ever designed would include the most exciting venues for get-togethers, including The Meeting Place," said Dondra Ritzenthaler, Senior Vice President of Sales, Trade Support and Service, Celebrity Cruises. "When you host events at sea, you really elevate your brand. Imagine the spectacular conferences, trade shows, weddings, and reunions you can plan with the gorgeous Celebrity Edge as your setting and an ocean as your brilliant backdrop."

"When designing The Meeting Place we asked ourselves what would be more appealing; being subjected to lectures in a conference room, or socializing with colleagues in a hip lounge?' The latter seemed obvious. Thus the flexibility and functionality of a 'state of the art' meeting space was designed for pleasure first," said Scott Butler, AIA, Founding Partner, Wilson Butler Architects. "The word that defines The Meeting Place is 'connected'. It facilitates guests getting connected to one another; to the latest technology and to the greatest new ideas. It also happens to connect to other venues on the ship that vastly expand the opportunities for groups."

Seating is modern and comfortable: Choose theater-style, classroom, U-shaped, or circular layouts, while table tops work well with or without covers or skirts. The space transforms seamlessly from day into night, with high-top bar tables or comfortable lounge seating for mixing and mingling.

It wouldn't be Celebrity Edge without innovative technology at guests' fingertips. Audiovisual systems — from wireless microphones to a mini sound board — come as standard equipment. An electronic whiteboard helps capture brainstorming sessions easily, while the impressive 98-inch and 75-inch LED screens add a powerful punch to business meetings and a subtle mood for social occasions.

Previously unveiled venues on Celebrity Edge are also available for private events and meetings based on availability, including the three-deck spanning Eden; the revolutionary, cantilevered Magic Carpet; the serene Rooftop Garden; and the tech-savvy Destination Gateway. Each venue is offers extensive audiovisual capabilities, unrivaled, expansive views, and a one-of-a-kind experience.

Carnival Corporation Reports Third Quarter Earnings
Carnival Corporation & plc announced U.S. GAAP net income of $1.3 billion, or $1.83 diluted EPS, for the third quarter of 2017 compared to U.S. GAAP net income for the third quarter of 2016 of $1.4 billion, or $1.93 diluted EPS. Third quarter 2017 adjusted net income of $1.7 billion, or $2.29 adjusted EPS, was higher than adjusted net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.92 adjusted EPS, for the third quarter of 2016. Adjusted net income excludes unrealized gains on fuel derivatives of $65 million and impairments and other net charges of $395 million for the third quarter 2017 and net gains of $7 million for the third quarter 2016. Revenues for the third quarter of 2017 of $5.5 billion were higher than the $5.1 billion in the prior year.

Carnival Corporation & plc President and Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald stated, "We delivered another consecutive quarter of strong operational improvement and another third quarter adjusted earnings record. Our ongoing efforts to create demand well in excess of measured supply growth helped to drive five percent higher cruise ticket pricing. We have many innovative efforts to accelerate demand in 2018 and beyond including our recently announced digital streaming channel, OceanView, and our mobile gaming portfolio, PlayOcean, both launching this week." The company will launch OceanView and PlayOcean at a public relations event in New York City's Time Square on September 28th between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Key information for the third quarter 2017 compared to the prior year:

• Gross revenue yields (revenue per available lower berth day or "ALBD") increased 5.5 percent. In constant currency, net revenue yields increased 5.1 percent for 3Q 2017, better than June guidance of up approximately 4.0 percent.
• Gross cruise costs including fuel per ALBD increased 12.4 percent (including ship impairment charges). In constant currency, net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD increased 0.2 percent, in line with June guidance of approximately flat.
• Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates decreased earnings by $0.03 per share.
• Noncash impairment charges for ships, trademark and goodwill of $392 million driven by the company's decision to strategically realign its business in Australia.

Highlights from the third quarter include the official naming ceremonies for AIDA Cruises' AIDAperla, which was christened in Palma de Mallorca with German model and presenter Lena Gercke serving as godmother, and Princess Cruises' Majestic Princess, which debuted in China with renowned basketball legend Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li presiding over the ceremony. We announced three additional Princess Cruises ships, Golden Princess, Crown Princess and Ruby Princess, will be outfitted with the technical requirements to transition them to the Ocean Platform featuring Ocean MedallionTM. This cutting edge interactive guest experience will be piloted later this year on Regal Princess. Also during the quarter, Holland America Line along with O, The Oprah Magazine, had its inaugural Share the Adventure cruise sailing from Seattle to Alaska with a number of distinguished guests on board including Oprah Winfrey. Additionally, Holland America Line received approval to operate a series of cruises to Cuba beginning in December 2017 and Carnival Cruise Line received approval for five additional Cuba cruises in 2018, following the debut of its program in June of this year.

Outlook

Donald commented, "After the earthquakes in Mexico and a very challenging series of hurricanes, our thoughts are with all of those impacted and we are actively contributing to the relief and rebuilding efforts in the Caribbean and the southern U.S. through monetary and other support. Many people throughout these areas have been impacted and several ports are temporarily unavailable. Fortunately, our owned destinations including Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; Cozumel, Mexico; Mahogany Bay, Honduras; Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, Bahamas, as well as more than 40 other ports, plus all those in Mexico, are fully operational and welcoming guests." Donald added that several temporary port closures associated with the storms led to voyage disruptions which are expected to result in an estimated $0.10 to $0.12 per share reduction in earnings in the fourth quarter. The company has resumed normal operations, with some itinerary modifications and is continuing to deliver exceptional Caribbean cruise vacations to its guests.

At this time, cumulative bookings for the first half of next year are well ahead of the prior year on both price and occupancy. Since June, booking volumes for the first half of next year have been running ahead of last year at prices that are well ahead.

Donald added, "Our record results, coupled with strong booking trends, have more than offset the anticipated earnings impact from these weather disruptions, enabling us to raise the mid-point of our guidance and positioning us to achieve the higher end of our previous earnings guidance range. Our performance affirms conviction in our company's inherent ability to deliver sustained double digit return on invested capital in 2018 and beyond. We remain on track to achieve record cash from operations of $5 billion this year, and to continue to distribute cash to shareholders through steadily increasing dividends, currently totaling $1.2 billion annually, and opportunistic share repurchases, which are approaching $3 billion cumulatively over the past two years."

The company expects full year 2017 net revenue yields in constant currency to be up approximately 4.0 percent compared to the prior year, better than June guidance of up approximately 3.5 percent. The company expects full year net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency compared to the prior year to be up approximately 2.5 percent versus June guidance of up approximately 1.5 percent. The cumulative impact of the recent weather related voyage disruptions reduced forecasted full year net revenue yields by 0.4 percent and increased full year net cruise cost guidance by 0.3 percent.

Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.33 per share. Taking the above factors into consideration, the company expects full year 2017 adjusted earnings per share to be in the range of $3.64 to $3.70 compared to June guidance of $3.60 to $3.70 and 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $3.45.

Fourth Quarter 2017 Outlook

Fourth quarter constant currency net revenue yields are expected to be up approximately 1.5 to 2.5 percent compared to the prior year. Excluding the estimated impact from recent weather related voyage disruptions, fourth quarter constant currency revenue yields would have been expected to increase approximately 3.5 percent, 1.5 percent higher than the mid-point of September guidance. Net cruise costs excluding fuel per ALBD in constant currency for the fourth quarter of 2017 are expected to increase by approximately 6 to 7 percent compared to the prior year of which approximately 1.5 percent was due to the impact of the recent weather related voyage disruptions and nearly 3 percent will be due to higher dry-dock costs as previously anticipated. Changes in fuel prices (including realized fuel derivatives) and currency exchange rates compared to the prior year are expected to decrease earnings by $0.04 per share. Based on the above factors, the company expects adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter 2017 to be in the range of $0.44 to $0.50 versus 2016 adjusted earnings per share of $0.67.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 63.50 - 2.59%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 113.88 - 4.14%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.04 - 0.49%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 53.60 - 4.88%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which two 1930's ocean liners had seaplanes mounted between their funnels for the purpose of delivering the mail via air thirty-six hours before the ships docked?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - The outbreak of World War I saw her on the on the Liverpool-New York route from 1915 until 17 July 1918, when she was torpedoed and sunk by U55, 170 miles west of Bishop Rock. Five crew were killed, but the remaining 215 on board, iNCLuding 57 passengers, were rescued by HMS Snowdrop.
courtesy of J. Brice


Cruise News - September 18, 2017

New President & CEO For Crystal Cruises
Genting Hong Kong today announced the appointment of travel industry veteran Tom Wolber as the President & CEO of Crystal Cruises effective September 15th. Mr. Wolber brings over three decades of experience in general management, operations, new-build construction and business development to Crystal during the company's most significant expansion since its founding in 1988.

"Tom's proven leadership skills will be invaluable to Crystal as the line takes delivery of four river ships in 2017 and 2018 as well as the first of the 'Endeavor Class' expedition yachts in 2019," said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Genting Hong Kong and Crystal Cruises. "His leadership will be key to the finalization of specifications and design for the new 'Exclusive Class' oceangoing vessels. Tom has our full confidence and we look forward to working closely with him to ensuring Crystal remains unmatched in the luxury travel segment."

"Crystal has developed a venerable reputation across the travel industry and my first responsibility will be continuing to deliver the world-class service and itineraries Crystal is renowned for," said Tom Wolber. "I thank Chairman Tan Sri Lim for placing his faith in me, and I look forward to spearheading some of the most innovative new-builds and experiences the cruise and hospitality industry has ever seen in the years ahead."

Mr. Wolber joins Crystal most recently from the Walt Disney Company where he served in various executive roles for 28 years, 10 of which were with Disney Cruise Line where he served as Senior Vice President of Operations. Mr. Wolber was involved in transforming Disney Cruise Line from a Port Canaveral based vacation provider to a global cruise line with itineraries covering North America, the Mediterranean and the Baltic. During his time at Disney, Mr. Wolber assisted with the successful design and launch of new builds including Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. Additionally, Mr. Wolber served as President and CEO of Euro Disney, Paris and has held senior executive positions in Disney theme parks and resort operations at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

"Since acquiring Crystal in 2015, Genting has worked tirelessly to expand the Crystal brand by launching two river vessels with a third imminent, an expedition yacht and a private Boeing 777 – certainly no easy feat," added Tan Sri Lim. "Thanks to Edie Rodriquez's leadership, Crystal has successfully launched three new brands: Crystal Yachts, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Air. We thank Edie for her service to the company, appreciate all of her hard work, and wish her the very best in future endeavors."

"It's been an extraordinary experience leading Crystal to global prominence, and I am very proud of my accomplishments," said Rodriguez. "I can't thank Chairman Tan Sri Lim enough for the confidence and investment to assure Crystal's future with a bold expansion strategy which I've firmly put in place. I'm happy to turn over the reins, knowing Crystal is well served by the incredibly talented and hard-working people throughout the organization – on sea, river, air and land. I look forward to announcing my new endeavor shortly."

Rodriguez joined Crystal as President & COO in October 2013; she was promoted to President & CEO following the acquisition of the company by Genting Hong Kong in May 2015. Prior to Crystal, Rodriguez held senior marketing, sales and business development positions with other notable luxury lines and travel companies.

FEMA Charters Bahamas Paradise
The MV Grand Celebration, owned and operated by Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, will be heading to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the request of FEMA. The chartered ship will have responsibility for housing the National Guard - first responders as they help to rebuild the lives of individuals and create some structure after the devastation left behind by Hurricane Irma.

The humanitarian mission is expected to start with the ship’s arrival in St. Thomas on Saturday, September 23, 2017 and last through the latter half of December. The cruise line will resume normal cruise operations beginning with the cruise on Saturday, December 23, 2017, with 2-night cruises between the Port of Palm Beach and Grand Bahama Island. The ship has 750 cabins and capacity up to 1,900 passengers.

“We will be reaching out to all of our guests and travel partners this week,” explained Oneil Khosa, CEO of the cruise line. “We feel badly about this 90 day disruption but believe the extensive needs of the St. Thomas people to be of greater importance at this time.”

The island of St. Thomas now must be on alert for the path of Maria, which is a category 5 Hurricane.

Individuals who booked directly with the cruise line for cruises through December 21 can contact Bahamas Paradise’s customer service department at 800-374-4363 to review all the options that are available to guests. Direct cruise line customers can receive a full refund or reschedule their cruise with a $100 onboard credit. Other booked guests should contact their travel providers.

Carnival Fascination Delivers Relief Supplies For St. Maarten
Carnival Cruise Line's announced this week that as part of its continuinjg hurricane relief efforts, Carnival Fascination delivered pallets of critical supplies, including water, canned food and other items, during a port call in St. Kitts to be delivered to the island of St. Maarten which has been impacted by the storm. The donation was made during Carnival Fascination’s current seven-day cruise from San Juan.

Additional Carnival ships will be making similar relief drop-offs during upcoming cruises to impacted destinations such as St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Barbuda (via Antigua) and Key West in the coming days and weeks.

Carnival Cruise Line’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging up to $10 million in funding and in-kind support for relief and rebuilding efforts in Florida and throughout the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma. For Hurricane Harvey, Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have already donated $2 million to support the relief and rebuilding efforts.

HAL's ms Koningsdam Features $4.1 Million Art Collection
One of the most notable features of any Holland America Line ship is the remarkable collection of museum-quality art on board. The line's newest vessel, ms Koningsdam, which launched in April 2016, is no exception. With a collection worth $4.1 million, the ship highlights the talents of leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, working with art curator ArtLink, and YSA Design to procure a thought-provoking collection of diverse works that complements the ship's design while stimulating conversation.

The result is a floating art gallery with 1,920 pieces ranging in value from $500 to $600,000 that spans the decks, public rooms and staterooms. More than 21 nationalities are represented by Koningsdam's artists, with the greatest number of contributors coming from the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. Artists also hail from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland.

Koningsdam features artworks in many media, including photography, painting, mixed media, illustration, prints and sculpture. Much of the art curated aboard is from emerging artists and highlights Koningsdam's focus on entertainment, showcasing themes of music, dance and movement.

Ranging from classic to whimsical, a variety of two-dimensional, mixed-media pieces using materials including paint-injected bubble wrap, computer disks on wood, toy cars cast in resin, aluminum wire, cast paper, bamboo and more are scattered throughout the ship. Many of the pieces change appearance depending on the viewer's vantage point, inviting guests to take time to ponder and discuss the works of art.

The largest and most expensive work is the stunning Atrium sculpture titled "Harps" that is based on a concept by Adam D. Tihany, who was at the helm of the ship's design and is regarded as one of the world's pre-eminent hospitality designers. The $600,000 piece is an impressive 7.5-ton stainless steel sculpture that spans three decks.

"Extensive collections of unique and thought-provoking art have always been a hallmark of our elegant on board ambiance, and Koningsdam showcases one of our most exciting and contemporary displays," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "Surrounding our guests with a vast array of meaningful artwork is a natural extension of the cruise experience as art awakens your senses, enriches your perspectives, inspires conversation and crosses cultural boundaries, all the same transformative values of travel."

Additional pieces that carry an impressive price tag include Jason Krugman's multideck "Quad Helix" light sculpture located in the Queen's Lounge that cost $174,750; the custom-designed Swarovski crystal globe made by Dutch design group Studio Job valued at $100,000 located on Deck 3, mid-ship stair lobby; and the $54,000 "Rabbit" by Berg and Meyers nestled in The Retreat, which has turned into one of the most talked about pieces on board.

The large-scale tulip images behind the Guest Services desk on Deck 3 are by a Netherlands-based artist who was commissioned to photograph Holland America Line's Signature Tulip. This unique flower only blooms for a couple of weeks every year, so ArtLink's team traveled to the Netherlands to collect the blooms directly from the only grower in the world of the Signature Tulip, and they arrived at the photographer's studio in time to capture the moment.

Some of the most charming pieces can be found nestled inside special tables at the Grand Dutch Café on Deck 3. Royal Goedewaagen created handmade and hand-painted ceramic buildings that showcase a little bit of Dutch history with canal houses, mills, palaces and Zaanse Schans houses (typical greenhouses from a specific region of Holland).

Dutch artist Peter Gentenaar recently exhibited his work at Paris' famed Louvre, and now Holland America Line guests can enjoy his captivating, two-story sculpture in The Dining Room. Titled "Wings of the Pharao," the piece is made from handmade cast paper, Belgian linen and bamboo, and Gentenaar came on board the ship during construction in the yard to complete the installation.

As he has done for the entire Holland America Line fleet, Stephen J. Card, a British artist regarded as one of the finest maritime painters working today, created two paintings that are on display in the Captain's Corner of the Crow's Nest, forward on Deck 11.

A highlight for many Holland America Line devotees are the historic art objects on display that came from ms Ryndam and ms Statendam, which were transferred to sister brand P&O Australia.

Whether it's a collection of pieces featuring famous musicians or a wooden ship sculpture with a cello for its hull, the art aboard Koningsdam makes up one of the finest collections in the world. Guests can explore the decks inside and out and discover inspired works around every turn.

Canaveral Port Authority Designing New Terminal For World's Second-Busiest Cruise Port
Advancing the Tomorrow's Port Canaveral vision to accommodate future growth for the world's second-busiest cruise port, Canaveral Port Authority engaged long-time partner CH2M to design a new terminal to support its cruise business, which currently accounts for 80 percent of the Port's revenue.

The new terminal will join the Port's Cruise Terminal One, also designed by CH2M, in its ability to serve ships like Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class, with capacities of more than 5,400 passengers. The berth will also strengthen Port Canaveral's position as an in-demand port-of-call and popular vacation destination.

In addition to leading design of the proposed 1,400-foot-long terminal berth, CH2M will provide permit support, dredging, bidding support and construction support as part of their waterside engineering design and permitting services contract.

"With experience on both waterside and landside design of cruise terminals at Port Canaveral, we dive deeper than most when it comes to understanding the relationship between a wharf and terminal," said Gary Ledford, CH2M project manager. "Our multi-faceted design knowledge will aid the Port Authority in ensuring that the wharf and the new terminal function seamlessly together so incoming ships can turn around efficiently and continue their journeys."

Guided by their previous success on every recent major waterfront permitting effort at Port Canaveral, and permitting for nearly all of Florida's deepwater ports, CH2M will assist the Port Authority in securing permits from various state and local agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission.

Said CH2M Global Transportation Market Director Kevin Slack, "We're proud to be a significant partner of Port Canaveral's past growth and are eager to continue supporting the successful implementation of a bigger, better terminal to serve today's largest vessels, and assisting the Port Authority in its strategic cruise and infrastructure improvement plans."

The new berth will support an estimated nearly 4,000 permanent jobs, in coordination with overall modernization and improvement plans, including the Port's channel widening and deepening and new cargo piers.

With a legacy spanning more than a century, including work at Port Canaveral since 1954, CH2M's maritime and coastal engineers lead the industry in developing and implementing modernization and capacity increasing solutions that advance business, stakeholder and community goals.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.19 - 0.58%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 118.80 + 1.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.05 - 2.84%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.35 + 2.23%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which cruise ship was the first to offer large picture windows for INSIDE cabins?

Answer - Voyager of the Seas has large picture windows overlooking the atrium of their ship.
courtesy of Bill Thompson, Tampa, FL


Cruise News - September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma Updates

From Carnival:

Hurricane Irma Update – Sept. 11, 2017 – 5:30 p.m. ET

We continue to closely monitor and adjust our fleet and itineraries following the impacts of Hurricane Irma over the weekend. The safety and security of our guests and team members remains our first priority. Given the path taken by the storm, the following cruises have been affected.

The following cruises have been cancelled:

• Carnival Liberty – Sept. 7 – three-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral
• Carnival Victory – Sept. 8 – three-day Bahamas cruise from Miami
• Carnival Splendor – Sept. 9 – five-day Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Everglades
• Carnival Ecstasy – Sept. 9 – six-day Bahamas cruise from Charleston
• Carnival Liberty – Sept. 10 – four-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral
• Carnival Paradise – Sept. 11 – five-day Western Caribbean cruise from Tampa

A full refund will be provided to all guests who were scheduled to sail on cancelled voyages.

Guests booked on any of the following sailings who were/are unable to travel will receive future cruise credits:

• Carnival Paradise – Sept. 7 – four-day cruise from Tampa
• Carnival Sensation – Sept. 7 – four-day cruise from Miami
• Carnival Fascination – Sept. 10 – seven-day cruise from San Juan

Guests do NOT need to contact Carnival to receive these future cruise credits as they will be automatically processed.

We remain in constant contact with port officials regarding port closures in South and Central Florida. Given the storm’s impact, we will be shortening the duration of several upcoming cruises.

Guests who sail on the shortened cruises will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare. Alternatively, guests who wish to cancel due to the modified cruise duration may do so and receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount of their cruise fare. Guests do NOT need to contact Carnival as this will be processed automatically.

Below is a list of other voyages currently impacted. Guests are being advised to not proceed to the pier until arrival and check-in times are confirmed on Carnival.com. Additionally, for those traveling on our South Florida ships in the coming days, we ask that you contact your airline to confirm your specific arrangements.

Carnival Paradise – Sept. 7 - Guests on this voyage departed Cozumel on Sept. 11 to make their way back to Tampa or Port Canaveral, depending on the availability of the Port in Tampa. Guests may elect to be transferred to Tampa or the Orlando airport via motor coach, or remain in the Port Canaveral area until we reposition the ship to the Port of Tampa next Saturday.

Carnival Conquest – Sept. 9 - Now scheduled to depart Port Everglades on Sept. 12 on a four-day cruise to Cozumel.

Carnival Glory – Sept. 9 = Now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 12 on a four-day cruise to Cozumel.

Carnival Magic – Current cruise (Sept. 3-9 from Port Canaveral) proceeded directly to New Orleans for arrival on Sept. 9. Guests had the opportunity to disembark and make independent arrangements to travel home. Guests also had the option to remain on board and sail back with us to Port Canaveral, where we will disembark the ship as soon as the port reopens.

Carnival Magic – Sept. 9 - Cruise is now scheduled to depart Port Canaveral on Sept. 13 on a three-day cruise to Freeport and Nassau.

Carnival Vista – Sept. 9 - Now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 12 on a five-day Western Caribbean cruise to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Carnival Victory – Previous cruise (Sept. 4-8 cruise from Miami) arrived into Miami early on Sept. 7. Guests who wished to disembark had the opportunity to do so. Guests also had the option of staying on board and sailing back out to sea with us on Sept. 8 until the storm passed.

Carnival Victory – Sept. 11 - Cruise now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 12 for a three-day cruise to Nassau and Freeport.

Carnival Sensation – Sept. 11 - Now scheduled to depart Miami on Sept. 13 for a three-day cruise to Nassau.

Previously affected cruise itineraries include:

Carnival Freedom – Sept. 9 - Departed Galveston on Sept. 9 on a Western Caribbean cruise to Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel.

Carnival Dream – Sept. 10 - Departed New Orleans on Sept. 10 to operate a Western Caribbean cruise to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

Carnival Pride – Sept. 10 - Departed Baltimore on Sept. 10 on a cruise to Canada, visiting Halifax and St. John. Guests may elect to cancel and receive a future cruise credit. Guests wishing to sail will receive a 25% future cruise credit based on the fare paid for this cruise.

Carnival Fascination – Sept. 10 - Departed San Juan on Sept. 10 on a cruise to Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts.

We will continue to stay in touch with local port officials and provide further updates, as needed. In order to provide the most accurate information, we will inform guests of any changes to our departures no later than 48 hours prior to the sailing date.

Our Business Continuity Plan remains in effect and a wide variety of essential personnel spanning all key areas of the company will be continuing to work remotely and from the company’s facility in Miami. The Miami office will reopen for normal business beginning Tuesday, Sept. 12.

From Royal Caribbean

September 12, 2017 at NOON EDT

We are mobilizing ships and supplies to help people in need. In coordination with the US and local governments we are dispatching ships to St. Thomas and St. Maarten and stand ready to assist Key West, and other locations. Adventure of the Seas made a humanitarian stop in St. Maarten on Sunday and Majesty of the Seas will make humanitarian calls in St. Thomas and St. Maarten to provide supplies and also assist in transporting evacuees in St. Maarten to safety. Additionally, we have Empress of the Seas ready to assist Key West once the impact of the storm is known.

Florida airports are slowly getting up and running. For the most up-to-date information please visit the FAA website at www.fly.faa.gov.

The following sailings are canceled:

• NEW: Enchantment of the Seas: September 11 Bahamas cruise - We are canceling the Enchantment of the Seas cruise due to the continued closure of the port, and the uncertainty as to when normal operations will resume. We are very sorry for this impact to your vacation.
• Empress of the Seas: September 13 Cuba cruise
• Majesty of the Seas: September 15 Bahamas cruise

We are cancelling the cruises on Empress and Majesty of the Seas to utilize the ship for humanitarian efforts in areas of the Caribbean with urgent need.

For these sailings, your cruise fare and fees will be 100% refunded to the original form of payment, and we are also offering a 25% future cruise credit, based on the cruise fare, for a cruise booked within the next 30 days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call 1-800-256-6649.

The following sailings are being modified:

Allure of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise - The new departure date is Wednesday, 9/13 and will sail a 4-night itinerary, with an overnight in Nassau, Bahamas.

Harmony of the Seas: September 9 Eastern Caribbean cruise - The new departure date will be on Tuesday, 9/12 and we will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico. To give you additional time to travel to the port, we expect to begin boarding at 5 pm.

Oasis of the Seas: September 10 Eastern Caribbean cruise - The departure date will be on Wednesday, 9/13 and will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico.

We know these changes are disappointing, and we are truly sorry for the storm's impact on your vacation. Should you choose to sail with us on Allure, Harmony or Oasis, we will provide you with a refund of 50% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit, for a cruise booked within the next year.

Given the changes to these sailings, if you are unable to travel and need to cancel your cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit, for a cruise booked within the next year. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new ports of call once onboard.

Given Hurricane Irma's impact to St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Key West, we will be working on alternative ports for future sailings until these islands have fully recovered. All itinerary changes will be communicated with these guests directly.

From Royal Caribbean

Updated September 12th 1:00 PM ET (5:00 PM UTC)

Norwegian Escape is sailing at close to full capacity with displaced guests from both Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Escape that were unable to secure flights back home when the ships returned early to Miami on Thursday, September 7. Norwegian Escape spent three days alongside in Cozumel, Mexico and departed on Monday, September 11 at 5 pm. The ship is proceeding towards Miami and is scheduled to arrive at PortMiami on Wednesday morning, September 13. Due to the devastating impact in the Caribbean from Hurricane Irma, all of Norwegian Escape’s upcoming Eastern Caribbean sailings until November will be altered to a Western Caribbean itinerary. All guests scheduled to sail on any affected cruises will be notified of the change.

Acting as a responsible corporate citizen and supporting the destinations that our ships operate in is a core value of Norwegian Cruise Line. In the wake of this devastating storm, we have deployed Norwegian Sky to St. Thomas, USVI to bring much needed supplies and assist in a humanitarian effort that is currently being organized by the government. As per the State Department, affected US Citizens in St. Thomas should email name, gender, and their last known location to IrmaEmergencyUSC@state.gov.

Norwegian Sky will depart as scheduled on Friday, September 15. Norwegian Escape will depart as scheduled for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise on Saturday, September 16.

Construction work begins on Costa Smeralda
Construction work began today on Costa Smeralda after her steel-cutting ceremony held at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland.

The new Costa Cruises ship will be the brand’s first ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and the world’s first cruise ship to be broadly marketed to consumers from multiple countries throughout Europe.

Construction of the Costa Smeralda is part of a strategic plan from Carnival Corporation & plc – the world’s largest cruise company with 10 brands, including Costa Cruises – to build seven LNG-powered ships for its 103-ship fleet, starting in fall 2018 when the company’s German-based AIDA Cruises brand introduces AIDAnova, which will be marketed largely to German consumers. Costa Smeralda, which will enter service in October 2019, will exceed 180,000 gross tons and offer more than 2,600 passenger cabins for a total of about 6,600 passengers onboard.

A second ship, sister to Costa Smeralda, will be delivered by Meyer Turku in 2021.

The two new Costa Cruises ships will be powered both in port and on the open sea by LNG, the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuel. LNG will be stored in special tanks on board ships and will be used to generate 100 percent of the energy required for navigation and onboard services, thanks to dual-fuel hybrid engines. The use of LNG is a major innovation in terms of environmental impact, as it will significantly reduce exhaust gas emissions, in particular sulphur (SO2), nitrogen (NO2), CO2 and particulate matter. “These ships will strengthen the leadership position for the Costa Group, which is already the market leader in all the major continental Europe markets,” said Michael Thamm, CEO of the Costa Group and Carnival Asia.

“The multibillion dollar contract with Meyer, which also includes two new LNG-powered ships to be built for our German brand, AIDA Cruises, reflects our strategy of constantly innovating our vacation offerings and providing our guests with an unmatched cruise experience.” “The two new Costa Cruises ships are a true global innovation and set new standards for the entire sector,” added Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises. “They will be among the first cruise ships powered by LNG, spurring the development of this green technology, especially in the Mediterranean area, and they will be the world’s first LNG-powered ships that will be marketed to consumers from multiple countries, including Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. The new ships will also offer unique services and present a state-of-the-art interior design, serving as the perfect expression of our Italy’s Finest concept, which is a distinguishing feature of the Costa Cruises brand around the world for providing guests with a truly immersive Italian experience.”

“In the last two years, we have had a very intense design collaboration with our customer and the outcome is a really fresh and new design fused with the latest of technology. We are happy to bring our experience with building LNG powered passenger ships to bear. Today is a very special moment in shipbuilding, when all the ideas, creativity, technology and signature design that is going into Costa’s new ships, are finally starting to become reality.” – stated Jan Meyer, CEO of Meyer Turku.

Costa Smeralda will be offering cruises in Western Mediterranean, which will be on sale beginning the first few months of 2018.

LNG bunkering will be provided by Shell Western LNG B.V. (Shell), as announced last year. The two LNG Costa ships – as well as two new ships for AIDA Cruises – are part of a multibillion dollar contract signed with the two Meyer shipyards in Turku (Finland) and Papenburg (Germany). The contract with Meyer is the result of a larger previously announced memo of understanding between Carnival Corporation, the parent company of Costa Group, and leading shipbuilders Meyer Werft, Meyer Turku and Fincantieri S.p.A. for nine new ships between 2019 and 2022.

Celebrity Cruises Partners with Public Television Series Moveable Feast
Celebrity Cruises invites guests to dig into the modern luxury brand’s newest iconic culinary partnership with Fine Cooking magazine and its Emmy Award-nominated Public Television series Moveable Feast – introducing Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises.

In celebration of the partnership, Celebrity will launch two Moveable Feast Signature Sailings featuring some of the series’ most talented chefs. Join renowned Miami chef and James Beard Award winner Michelle Bernstein on a 7-night island hopping journey through the Caribbean, departing December 16, 2017, onboard Celebrity Equinox, or escape to Bermuda on a 7-night island getaway onboard Celebrity Summit with James Beard Award-nominated chef Bryan Voltaggio, departing April 29, 2018. On each sailing, guests will have the opportunity to meet the chefs, attend chef-led cooking demonstrations, and join the chefs on intimate, hand-selected excursions.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to announce our partnership with Fine Cooking magazine and Moveable Feast. After all, it’s a show that blends two of the things we love most – and do best – traveling beyond borders to places that will inspire you and creating flavors that will thrill your palate like never before,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “Now, we’re combining gastronomic forces to bring you our Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises program, a mouthwatering experience you can savor across our fleet.”

“We are excited to welcome Celebrity Cruises as the corporate underwriting sponsor of the upcoming Season 5 of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking,” said John Boland, SVP and Publisher of Fine Cooking Magazine. “Being able to extend the consumer experience beyond the pages of our magazine and television show to on-board culinary adventures with Celebrity Cruises, brings it to life in a unique and fun way.”

Moveable Feast with Celebrity Cruises infuses Moveable Feast-inspired activities and flavors into Celebrity’s already heralded culinary experience, with a smorgasbord of unique offerings, including Moveable Feast Night in the main dining rooms onboard, hands-on cooking demonstrations, and award-winning Chef’s Market DiscoveriesSM excursions that emulate the Moveable Feast experience, with more offerings to be revealed soon.

Carnival and Company Select Hurricane Harvey Relief Agencies for $2 Million Donation
Carnival Cruise Line, its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have identified five non-profit organizations to receive a minimum of $2 million total in support of relief and rebuilding efforts following the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey. Direct Relief, Houston Food Bank, Save the Children, Operation Homefront and United Way of Greater Houston were chosen for their active roles in providing critical supplies of food, water, medicine, shelter and other basic necessities to residents in the most impacted areas. Each organization features an extensive local network providing critical support to people in the region.

"We continue to be inspired by the efforts of so many first responders, government officials, volunteers, neighbors and others in making such valiant efforts to help people who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, which has three of its ships sailing year-round from the Port of Galveston in south Texas. "We hope our collective donation to the five organizations makes an immediate impact for those who need help the most, while our hearts and prayers continue to go out to everyone involved."

In addition to the pledges of $500,000 from Carnival Cruise Line, $500,000 from Carnival Corporation's charitable arm, The Carnival Foundation, and a matching $1 million from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, Carnival Cruise Line will present guests with the opportunity to donate to relief efforts while checking in for their upcoming cruises. Carnival Corporation and its global brands are also encouraging employees to support the recovery while matching some individual donations.

Direct Relief, an international humanitarian organization providing critical medications and supplies, is working with community health centers and clinics throughout the affected areas, addressing urgent needs including diabetes and high blood pressure. It was ranked number one by CNBC among the Top 10 Charities Changing the World in 2016, and has made over $100 million in medical inventory available to those in the path of the storm.

Houston Food Bank is greater Houston's largest food donation organization and a member of Feeding America, the nation's largest non-governmental domestic hunger relief organization. Houston Food Bank estimates over 80,000 people in the area will be displaced until after Thanksgiving and need assistance. The charity is focused on providing people in need with critical food, water and supplies. Houston Food Bank is also reaching out to help people living in surrounding areas including nearby Galveston county.

Save the Children, an international non-governmental organization and recognized national leader for services to children in emergencies, is providing support in the affected area. Its efforts include distribution of infant and toddler supplies such as cribs and hygiene products and providing child-friendly spaces offering safety and support throughout the recovery.

Operation Homefront provides support to the over 300,000 military families living in the affected area. The charity is focused on providing direct critical support with services ranging from food assistance, home repair, temporary housing expenses, car rental or repair, replacement clothing and baby care items. Operation Homefront has been a longstanding and ongoing charity partner of Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line and the Carnival Foundation.

United Way of Greater Houston is focused on the region's long-term recovery. It assesses the needs of the impacted communities and address those needs with social service providers. Its initiatives include mental and behavioral health services, supporting food banks and assistance ministries, supporting applications to FEMA aid programs and assistance with home repairs and rebuilding. Its service emphasis is to low-income individuals and families, seniors and people with disabilities.

Viking Cruises Ltd Announces Commencement of Tender Offer
Viking Cruises Ltd today announced that it is commencing a cash tender offer for any and all of the outstanding $525 million aggregate principal amount of its 8.50% Senior Notes due 2022.

The tender offer will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on September 19, 2017, unless the tender offer is extended or earlier terminated (such time and date, as they may be extended, the "Expiration Date"). Under the terms and subject to the conditions of the tender offer, holders of Notes who validly tender (and do not validly withdraw) their Notes at or prior to the Expiration Date (or who validly deliver a properly completed and duly executed Notice of Guaranteed Delivery in accordance with the instructions described in the Offer to Purchase at or prior to the Expiration Date and subsequently deliver their tendered Notes by the close of business on September 21, 2017, the second business day after the scheduled Expiration Date), and, in each case, whose tendered Notes are accepted for purchase by Viking in the tender offer, will receive cash consideration of $1,047.70 per $1,000 principal amount of tendered Notes plus any accrued and unpaid interest from and including the most recent interest payment date, up to, but excluding, the settlement date for the tender offer. Tendered Notes may be validly withdrawn at any time at or prior to the Expiration Date or as otherwise set forth in the Offer to Purchase for the tender offer.

The settlement date in respect of Notes that are validly tendered at or prior to the Expiration Date and accepted by Viking for purchase in the tender offer will be promptly after the Expiration Date and is expected to be September 20, 2017, the first business day following the scheduled Expiration Date (the "Settlement Date"). The settlement date in respect of tendered Notes with respect to which a properly completed and duly executed Notice of Guaranteed Delivery is validly delivered at or prior to the Expiration Date (to the extent that such Notes are not delivered at or prior to the Expiration Date) that are accepted by Viking for purchase in the tender offer is expected to be September 22, 2017, the third business day following the scheduled Expiration Date. For the avoidance of doubt, accrued interest will cease to accrue on the Settlement Date for all Notes accepted for purchase in the tender offer, including those tendered by the guaranteed delivery procedures.

The tender offer is being made pursuant to the Offer to Purchase dated September 12, 2017 and a related Notice of Guaranteed Delivery (as they may be amended or supplemented from time to time, the "Tender Offer Documents"), which more fully set forth the terms and conditions of the tender offer, and the information in this press release is qualified in its entirety by such documents.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.57 - 2.09%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.45 - 1.34%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.11 - 0.47%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.12 - 2.77%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which cruise ship was the first to offer large picture windows for INSIDE cabins?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which ship is widely acknowledged to be the first vessel designed solely for cruising? What year did she enter service?

Answer - In 1948 Cunard's Caronia (the second ship to bear the name) set sail. Caronia is credited as the first purpose built cruise ship. Durring her time with Cunard she was popular and well known as the "Green Goddess" for her green livery.
courtesy of Dave in Los Angeles, CA


Cruise News - September 4, 2017

Hurricane Irma Updates
From Carnival:

We continue to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Irma. Given the current projected trajectory of the storm, we have cancelled the Carnival Liberty Sept. 7 three-day Bahamas cruise from Port Canaveral and the Carnival Victory Sept. 8 three-day Bahamas cruise from Miami. A full refund will be provided to all guests who were scheduled to sail on these voyages.

We remain in constant contact with port officials regarding potential port closures in South and Central Florida. Given the uncertainty of the storm’s impact, we expect that we may have to shorten the duration of certain cruises scheduled to depart this weekend. In order to provide the most accurate information, we will inform guests of any changes to our departures no later than 48 hours prior to the sailing date.

Currently, six Carnival ships are sailing on modified itineraries to maintain a safe distance from the storm. These are: Carnival Glory, Carnival Magic, Carnival Splendor, Carnival Pride, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation.

Guests who sail on shortened cruises will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare. Guests who wish to cancel due to a modified cruise duration may do so and receive a future cruise credit equal to the amount of their cruise fare.

Guests scheduled to cruise on these upcoming Carnival voyages are encouraged to sign up for text alerts by texting the codes below to CRUISE (278473).

Carnival Paradise – CCL1
Carnival Conquest – CCL2
Carnival Glory – CCL3
Carnival Magic – CCL4
Carnival Splendor – CCL5
Carnival Vista – CCL6
Carnival Liberty – CCL7
Carnival Victory 9/11 – CCL8
Carnival Sensation 9/07 – CCL9
Carnival Sensation 9/11 – CCL10

In addition, we are making preparations for a potential landfall in South Florida, where Carnival headquarters is located. The safety of our guests and team members is our first priority.

From Royal Caribbean

September 6, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT (

We are closely monitoring Hurricane Irma’s path and its potential impact to our current and upcoming sailings. Royal Caribbean’s Chief Meteorologist, James Van Fleet, is closely tracking the storm’s progress, and the current forecast is as follows:

Hurricane Irma has passed over St. Maarten, and is expected to pass over St. Thomas today and San Juan this evening through Thursday early morning. Irma is currently moving west northwest at 15 mph, and has sustained winds of 185 mph. New models are now further east bringing Irma between Miami and Bimini.

For guests on the current sailings of Oasis, Harmony and Allure of the Seas, we have decided to delay the return of these ships until the storm has passed. Due to the unpredictability of the storm, we plan to keep all of our guests currently sailing on these ships safely out of harm’s way.

The following sailings are departing as scheduled:

Adventure of the Seas: September 9 Southern Caribbean cruise
Grandeur of the Seas: September 7 New England/Canada cruise
Liberty of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise
Serenade of the Seas: September 10 New England/Canada cruise
Vision of the Seas: September 7 New England/Canada cruise

The following sailings are canceled:

Empress of the Seas: September 9 Cuba cruise
Enchantment of the Seas: September 8 Bahamas cruise
Majesty of the Seas: September 8 Bahamas cruise

We are very sorry for the impact this storm has had on your vacation and please know that we made the decision with the safety and comfort of our guests and crew in mind. The cruise fare and fees will be 100% refunded to the original form of payment, and we are also offering a 25% future cruise credit, based on the cruise fare, if a new cruise is booked in the next 30 days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call 1-800-256-6649.

The following sailings are being modified:

Allure of the Seas: September 10 Western Caribbean cruise
The new departure date will be on Wednesday, 9/13 and we will sail a 4-night itinerary to Nassau, Bahamas. We know this change is disappointing, and we are truly sorry for the storm’s impact on your vacation. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 50% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel next week’s cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new port of call once onboard.

Harmony of the Seas: September 9 Eastern Caribbean cruise
The new departure date will be on Tuesday, 9/12 and we will sail a 4-night itinerary to Cozumel, Mexico. We know this change is disappointing, and we are truly sorry. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 50% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel next week’s cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new port of call once onboard.

Oasis of the Seas: September 10 Eastern Caribbean cruise
The new departure date will now be on Tuesday, 9/12 and we will sail a 5-night itinerary to Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. We know this change is disappointing, and we are truly sorry. Should you choose to sail with us we will provide you with a refund of 30% of your cruise fare paid in the form of a refundable onboard credit, and an additional 50% future cruise credit.

If you are unable to travel and need to cancel next week’s cruise, we will provide you with a 100% future cruise credit. Pre-booked shore excursions will be refunded to your original form of payment, and you will have the ability to book excursions in our new ports of call once onboard.

The following sailings are being monitored and we will have further details in our 6 PM EDT update:
Anthem of the Seas: September 9 Bermuda cruise
Majesty of the Seas: September 11 Bahamas cruise
Enchantment of the Seas: September 11 Bahamas cruise

In an effort to give you advance notice of any changes while also taking into account the most accurate forecast information, we will be providing updates on any impacted sailings no later than 2 days in advance of departure.

For all guests currently sailing with us, the Captain and team onboard will be providing you specific updates at 1 pm and 6:15 pm daily, and of course will update you immediately if anything changes.

Should we need to make additional itinerary changes or cancel an additional sailing to avoid the storm, we will reach out to guests directly, as well as update our website and social media feeds immediately. Please know that the safety and comfort of our guests are our top priority and we will continue to provide regular updates throughout the week.

For more frequent updates, please follow our meteorologist on Twitter @JamesVanFleet or visit the Royal Caribbean Facebook page.

Seabourn Celebrates Shipbuilding Milestone for Seabourn Ovation
Today, the world's finest ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn marked a major construction milestone with a traditional coin and launch ceremony for its newest ship, Seabourn Ovation, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri, Italy. Seabourn Ovation is set to welcome guests and begin sailing in May 2018.

The time-honored coin and launch ceremony is an enduring maritime tradition that calls for a "madrina" to preside over the celebratory events. Serving in this significant role was Jan Stearman, Seabourn's longest-serving female shipboard team member, who joined the company 22 years ago, and a well-known and respected cruise director. Along with Seabourn President Richard Meadows, Fincantieri Shipyard Director Paolo Capobianco and Seabourn Ovation Captain Stig Betten observed the welding of two commemorative gold coins to the ship's mast. Stearman then cut the ship's cord to allow water to flow into the ship's building dock. The ship will be "floated out" from its dry dock and moved to its outfitting dock at the shipyard, where it will undergo final construction until the ship is delivered in 2018.

"Watching the coin ceremony and seeing Seabourn Ovation officially touch the water for the first time today was a very special moment for all of us at Seabourn, representing a significant step toward the further expansion of our luxury fleet," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "Many guests and partners across the travel industry have expressed their enthusiasm for the arrival of this incredible ship following the successful debut in December 2016 of her sister ship, Seabourn Encore."

Following the ship's delivery, Seabourn Ovation will embark on an 11-day inaugural voyage departing May 5, 2018, from Venice, Italy, to Barcelona, Spain. The ship will go on to spend the majority of her maiden season cruising the waters of Northern Europe, offering a series of seven-day Baltic and Scandinavian cruises between Copenhagen and Stockholm, which will include the line's signature three-day stay in St. Petersburg, Russia. Seabourn Ovation will also sail on longer 14-day voyages, visiting the majestic Norwegian fjords and British Isles.

Like its sister ship Seabourn Encore, Seabourn Ovation is being fashioned by notable hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany with contemporary interiors, modern design elements, and innovations consistent with Seabourn's reputation for understated elegance. The new ship will round out the current planned expansion of the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed fleet.

Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly intuitive and personalized service for each guest on board. The 40,350-GRT ship will carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. The all-suite ship will offer a number of desirable in-suite amenities to provide guests with a "home away from home" onboard experience. In every luxurious suite will be a private veranda, providing sweeping oceanfront views and spacious enough for private al fresco dining. Featuring striking design and sophisticated décor, each suite will include a comfortable living area with sofa seating and a desk/dining table; elegant bedding; a walk-in closet; in-suite entertainment options with a wide selection of movies, music, broadcast television and radio channels; and a superbly-appointed marble bathroom with separate bath and shower and luxury bath products, including the new exclusive Seabourn Signature Scents by Molton Brown. A personal bar and refrigerator will be stocked according to guest preferences, coordinated before arrival.

Guests who sail on Seabourn Ovation will also find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn. These programs include 'An Evening with Tim Rice', the new evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50's and 60's. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes, as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte.

Carnival Corporation Begins Construction of World's First Fully LNG-Powered Cruise Ship
Carnival Corporation & plc marked the official beginning of construction for the first of its seven next-generation cruise ships that will be fully-powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) with a keel-laying ceremony at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg.

Pioneering a new era in the use of low-carbon fuels, these new ships will be the first in the cruise industry that can use LNG to generate 100 percent of their power both in port and on the open sea – an innovation that will reduce exhaust emissions to help protect the environment and support Carnival Corporation's aggressive sustainability goals. These seven ships, with delivery dates between 2018 and 2022, will be built by leading German and Finnish shipbuilders Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku.

Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, together with Bernard Meyer, CEO of Meyer Yards, Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group and Carnival Asia, and representatives of three of the Carnival Corporation brands that will receive the LNG ships – David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK; Neil Palomba, president of Costa Cruises; and Felix Eichhorn, president of AIDA Cruises – gave the official "full steam ahead" signal for the keel laying of the first ship of the new LNG generation, AIDAnova, which will be delivered by Meyer Werft Papenburg in fall 2018.

"Today marked a significant milestone in the construction of this next-generation of Carnival Corporation ships featuring our 'green cruising' design, which will be the most environmentally friendly ships in our company's history," said Donald, the corporation's CEO. "We are committed to continuing to reduce air emissions and improving air quality by evaluating both new and established solutions, including LNG. We are proud to be on the forefront of advancing LNG as a fuel source for the cruise industry, and we appreciate our long-standing partnership with Meyer Werft and Meyer Turku. We look forward to the delivery of these beautiful and innovative ships that will help us meet our top goal – to provide extraordinary vacation experiences for our guests that exceed all of their expectations."

"We thank Carnival Corporation and AIDA Cruises very much for their trust and their pioneering decision to implement LNG technology onboard their cruise ships," said Meyer. "The corresponding infrastructure is now being developed at numerous ports – Carnival Corporation has made a decision that not only benefits the environment, but that also is highly important for the whole cruise industry."

Following the introduction of AIDAnova in 2018, Carnival Corporation's Costa Cruises brand will debut the industry's next cruise ship that can be powered completely by LNG on the open seas in 2019 – the first steel-cutting ceremony for this ship is scheduled at the Meyer Turku shipyard in the coming week. LNG-powered ships for Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises (UK) will follow in 2020. Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will each receive an additional LNG-powered ship in 2021, followed by an additional LNG-powered ship for Carnival Cruise Line in 2022.

Costa Cruises Launches a New WeChat Mini Program to Enhance Onboard Guest Experience
Costa Cruises today announced the launch of a new WeChat Mini Program onboard Costa Asia's industry-leading fleet in China. With WeChat, a leading online social communication platform in China, Chinese guests will be able to enjoy hassle-free mobile payment and enhanced onboard experiences, starting September 2 onboard Costa Atlantica.

WeChat (also known as Weixin in China) is an integrated lifestyle-changing platform for instant messaging, commerce and payment services from Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading provider of Internet value added services in China. As of second quarter 2017, there were over 963 million monthly active users on WeChat and Weixin.

Representing a first in the global cruise industry, Costa Cruises launched the first Mini Program to book and pay for a cruise itinerary on the WeChat platform on August 8. The Mini Program is the innovative feature that allows WeChat users to instantly open and access services inside WeChat without having to download the full standalone mobile app, providing a faster and better user experience. The latest announcement features an enhancement of the WeChat Mini Program to also include onboard entertainment booking and payment, among other functions.

With the new WeChat Mini Program, guests will be able to browse and book specialty restaurants, spa, duty-free shopping and other onboard services through complimentary intranet service, without subscribing to onboard internet services.

"As a pioneer in the Chinese cruise industry, Costa Cruises constantly innovates to enhance the guest experience," said Mario Zanetti, president of Costa Group Asia. "With China being one of the world's leaders in mobile and digital advancements, we see great potential in leveraging WeChat's leading position and technologies to not only facilitate hassle-free payment, but also provide a more immersive and digitized onboard experience for our guests."

As the brand that brought cruising to China in 2006 and the leader in the Chinese cruise market today, Costa Cruises operates year-round in China and has provided cruise vacations for over two million Chinese guests with differentiated products, including its popular "Italy at Sea" offering, through four ships based across North, East and South China. Costa Cruises, along with Carnival Corporation, will continue to maintain its leadership in developing a healthy eco-system in the Chinese cruise industry.

Viking Announces Second World Cruise For Fourth Ship
Ahead of its first-ever World Cruise scheduled for this winter, Viking Cruises (www.vikingcruises.com) today announced Viking Sun will continue to sail the globe on the company's second World Cruise, which will span 128-days, five continents, 21 countries and 44 ports, with 10 port overnights.

Departing on January 3, 2019 on the soon-to-be delivered fourth vessel in Viking's award-winning ocean fleet, this grand journey will mark Viking Sun's second voyage around the world. The ship will spend much of her maiden season on Viking's first World Cruise, which departs from Miami on December 15, 2017. Sailing from Miami to London, the new 2019 World Cruise itinerary allows guests to explore South America and the islands of the South Pacific; call upon ports in Africa, from Cape Town to Dakar; and cruise the Strait of Magellan, Tasman Sea, and Indian Ocean, before concluding in London. As with all Viking itineraries, guests receive a complimentary shore excursion in each of the 44 ports and free unlimited Wi-Fi; World Cruise guests also receive Business Class airfare and all gratuities and service fees, along with an extensive list of added-value included features in their cruise fare.

"We offer itineraries that are designed for explorers, and our World Cruises are the most extensive and culturally immersive journeys available in the industry. Our first World Cruise is 100 percent sold out, and we are pleased with the initial response to our second World Cruise itinerary among new and returning guests," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Our guests are experienced travelers who want to explore the world in comfort. As we continue to expand our offerings around the world, we will remain true to our guests—with an award-winning fleet design, the highest industry accolades and far more included value than any competitor."

2019 World Cruise Highlights

Viking's 2019 World Cruise visits dozens of celebrated cities, charming ports and idyllic islands in one grand voyage. Guests will immerse themselves in the world's rich cultures during included excursions in each port, while The Viking Way of Exploration offers additional, optional excursions that provide unmatched insight into Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access visits to cultural institutions. Overnight stays in 10 cities allow World Cruise guests to delve deeper into destinations; and Viking's Culture Curriculum offers additional enrichment on board with regional entertainment and lectures, as well as learning opportunities as part of the new Viking Resident Historian program. Full details on the 2019 World Cruise can be found on Viking's website here; highlights include:

• Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Peak of Brazilian Culture—During an overnight stay in the historic city of Rio de Janeiro, guests can visit Corcovado Mountain and the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue before relaxing on the scenic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches of the coastal metropolis.

• Port Stanley, Falkland Islands: Islas Malvinas—This remote archipelago, also known as Islas Malvinas, is comprised of nearly 200 small islands and home to less than 4,000 people. Renowned for their maritime history, guests can learn the rich history of the Falkland Islands while visiting the capital, Port Stanley, and experience the abundant wildlife of the surrounding waters including penguins, dolphins, seals and orcas.

• Ushuaia, Argentina: "End of the World"—Perched on a steep hill on the southernmost tip of South America, commonly referred to as the "End of the World," guests can explore the scenery of Ushuaia through excursions to the nearby Escondido and Fagnano Lakes, and the Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was first inhabited by humans 10,000 years ago.
• Easter Island, Chile: Isolated in Mystery—Resting 1,200 miles from its nearest neighbors, Easter Island is the world's most remote inhabited island. Guests will visit the island's famed archaeological sites, including the nearly 900 monumental Moai stone head statues, part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rapa Nui National Park.

• Milford Sound, New Zealand: Astonishing Landscape—Guests will have the opportunity to sail the breathtaking waterway of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park in Milford Sound. Stretching for almost 10 miles, from the Tasman Sea into a wonderland of alpine peaks, the landscape features monolithic granite walls and waterfalls as tall as skyscrapers.

• Hobart, Tasmania: An Island of History and Wilderness—Capital of Australia's island state of Tasmania, Hobart sits nestled amongst the foothills of Mount Wellington and at the entrance to the Derwent River, and offers guests the chance to learn about its UNESCO World Heritage sites, including historic convict locations and a unique wilderness area.

• Maputo, Mozambique: Wildlife Abounds—While visiting this Indian Ocean port, guests can experience the preserved Portuguese colonial architecture and local markets in this historic city, before venturing to Kruger National Park for an overnight safari and a chance to view the "Big 5:" lions, African elephants, African leopards, Cape buffalo and rhinoceros.

• Cape Town, South Africa: Cultural Riches—An overnight stay in Cape Town helps guests explore this city in-depth. Guests can appreciate the picturesque landscape from the monolithic wonder, Table Mountain, enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting at the Vineyards of Stellenbosch, or stay in the city to witness an array of historic architecture and delicious cuisine.

Viking Sun

Viking's ocean ships have a gross tonnage of 47,800 tons, with 465 staterooms that can accommodate 930 guests. Viking will welcome three more sister ships in the next two years to its award-winning fleet, including Viking Sun. By 2019 it will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Two additional ships are also on order for delivery in 2021 and 2022. Classified by Cruise Critic as "small ships," Viking's ocean fleet features modern Scandinavian design with elegant touches, intimate spaces and attention to detail. Highlights include:

• All Veranda Staterooms: Guests can choose from five stateroom categories, starting from 270 sq. ft. Veranda Staterooms, all with private verandas, sweeping views of the destination and premium amenities that include king-size beds with luxury linens, generously proportioned closets, large interactive flat-screen LCD TVs with movies-on-demand, unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi and award-winning bathrooms with large showers, premium Freyja bath products and heated floors.

• Explorer Suites: The ships feature 14 Explorer Suites, which are two-room suites ranging from 757 to 1,163 sq. ft. that offer expansive views from wraparound private verandas as well as the most amenities and privileges of any category on board.

• Two Pool Choices: In addition to the Main Pool with a retractable roof permitting any-season swimming, the ships feature a first-of-its-kind glass-backed Infinity Pool cantilevered off the stern, allowing guests to swim surrounded by their destination.

• LivNordic Spa: In keeping with Viking's Nordic heritage, The Spa on board is designed with the holistic wellness philosophy of Scandinavia in mind—from the centuries-old tradition of the sauna to a Snow Grotto where snowflakes gently descend from the ceiling through chilled air. Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 named it one of the "5 best cruise ship spas."

• Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's: Share a cocktail with friends. Linger over a Norwegian breakfast and a nautical history book. The Explorers' Lounge and Mamsen's gourmet deli are thoughtful spaces located at the bow of the ship and designed to represent the Scandinavian spirit for complete relaxation and for marveling at sweeping views through double-height windows.

• The Wintergarden: Guests looking for serenity will find it in the Wintergarden. In this elegant space under a canopy of Scandinavian trellised wood, guests can indulge in afternoon tea service.

• Dining Choices: Viking's ships offer eight dining options, all with no additional charge or fee—from fine dining in The Restaurant, which serves three full meals and a variety of culinary options, and the World Café, which features international fare and regional specialties including a sushi and seafood cold bar—to intimate alternative dining experiences at The Chef's Table, which offers a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings, and Manfredi's, which features freshly prepared pastas and Italian favorites. The Pool Grill specializes in gourmet burgers, while afternoon tea and scones are available in the Wintergarden. Mamsen's serves Norwegian deli-style fare, and complimentary 24-hour room service allows all guests to enjoy many signature dishes in the comfort of their stateroom. Furthermore, with multiple choices for outdoor seating during meals, Viking's ocean ships offer the most al fresco dining at sea. Additionally, The Kitchen Table specializes in regional dishes from market to table

• Cultural Enrichment: Viking experiences from ship to shore are designed for unparalleled access and cultural enrichment. Viking Resident Historians deliver high-level historical and cultural education specific to the journey, offering invaluable insight in to the rich history of the destination. Guest Lecturers who are experts in their fields shed light on the destination's art, architecture, music, geopolitics, natural world and more. Destination Performances represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region—whether it be Italian opera or Portuguese fado. Resident Classical Musicians—pianists, guitarists, violinists and flautists—perform classical compositions throughout the ships. And Culinary Classes in The Kitchen Table, Viking's onboard cooking school, focus on regional cuisine.

• Nordic Inspiration: Even the smallest details take their inspiration from the exploratory spirit of the original Vikings, reflecting deeply held Nordic traditions. Light wood grains, touches of slate and teak, Swedish limestone and fragrant juniper appear throughout the public spaces and Spa. The Clinker-built design of the Viking Bar mirrors the construction style of the original Viking Longships. A Viking Heritage Center provides history and context from the Viking Age. And characters from Norse Mythology are subtly incorporated into the design, providing curious guests with inspiration to further explore Viking's Nordic heritage.

• Sustainable Features: Designed to be environmentally friendly, Viking's ships feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, hydro-dynamically optimized streamlined hull and bow for maximum fuel efficiency and equipment that reduces exhaust pollution and meets the strictest worldwide environmental regulations.

Cunard Debuts Additional 2019 Voyages
Cunard has released additional 2019 voyages today which include a wide-range of North American and European sailings from April until December 2019 across the Cunard fleet. In 2019, Cunard will see the highest visibility of its iconic ships—Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth—on both the east and west coasts of North America in decades.

"The 2019 deployment has the best selection of cruise experiences we have ever offered," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "We are thrilled to introduce new itineraries tailored to the North American marketplace. Now represents the perfect time to experience Cunard."

Queen Mary 2's Expanded Canada and Grand Voyage Deployment In 2019 Cunard's flagship, Queen Mary 2, will make a total of 19 one-way Eastbound and Westbound Transatlantic Crossings, and will make one 7-night Le Havre (Paris) to New York Crossing (M930J) in September. For the first time ever, from July 14 to July 28, 2019, Queen Mary 2 will make a Westbound 14-night one-way crossing with multiple ports along the way. The voyage (M921) will start in Southampton (London), sail to Liverpool, then on to Reykjavik, Iceland for an overnight stay, then Corner Brook and Halifax in Canada prior to arriving in New York. An extended Canada deployment for Queen Mary 2 will see five 7-night voyages between summer and fall 2019, with its annual Independence Day 2019 Voyage (M919) having an extended call in Boston.

In addition, Queen Mary 2 will have an expanded Grand Voyage deployment with voyages 19-nights or longer that will incorporate both Europe and Transatlantic Crossings together as well as New England & Canada voyages combined with Transatlantic Crossings.

Other Queen Mary 2 voyage highlights include:

• Six (6) Hamburg Transatlantic Crossings
• Eight (8) Roundtrip Transatlantic Crossings (SOU-SOU or NYC-NYC)
• One (1) 12-night Caribbean Thanksgiving Voyage (M939)
• Several short break voyages between Southampton and Hamburg

Queen Elizabeth's West Coast Repositioning & European Voyages
Following Queen Elizabeth's previously-announced 27-night voyage from Yokohama, Japan to Vancouver, Canada (Q915), the ship will sail from San Francisco down the west coast of North America through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale and on to Southampton via New York City, Iceland, Greenock and Dublin, completing a 36-night voyage that will include an overnight call in Los Angeles for 4th of July (Q919H).

From May until November 2019, Queen Elizabeth will complete:

• Two (2) 14-night Baltic Highlight voyages (Q923, Q926)
• One (1) 14-night Iceland and British Isles sailing (Q925)
• One (1) 12-night Norwegian Explorer voyage (Q924)
• One (1) 12-night Canary Island voyage (Q929)
• Several short break voyages including a 4-night Amsterdam Short Break voyage (Q927)

Queen Victoria's European Voyages
From May until December 2019, Cunard's Queen Victoria will sail several European voyages which will offer an array of cultural treasures and spectacular destinations to explore. Highlights include:

• One (1) 12-night Canary Islands voyage (V924)
• Four (4) Baltic Itineraries
• Two (2) British Isles cruises (V914, V920)
• Three (3) Mediterranean voyages from Southampton
• One (1) 14-night Iceland and British Isles voyage (V919)
• Two (2) 7-night Norwegian Fjords voyages (V912, V915)
• Three (3) short break voyages including two (2) 3-night Kiel to Southampton voyages (V911B, V918C)

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.97 - 2.30%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.04 - 1.42%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.12 - 2.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.69 - 2.06%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ship is widely acknowledged to be the first vessel designed solely for cruising? What year did she enter service?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the name of the cruise ship that caught fire during a Christmas cruise in 1963 and sank six days later?

Answer - The Dutch built, but Greek owned, TSMS Lakonia sank with substantial casualties on 22nd December, 1963.
courtesy of Bruce McKenzie, Guam.


Cruise News - August 28, 2017

MSC Cruises and Fincantieri Celebrate Float Out of MSC Seaview
MSC Cruises and FINCANTIERI, one of the largest shipbuilding groups in the world, today celebrated the float out of MSC Seaview. The ceremony took place at the Monfalcone shipyard in Italy, where the ship is being built.

MSC Seaview is the second of MSC Cruises’ Seaside generation of cruise ships, based on a highly-innovative prototype designed to bring guests closer to the sea than ever before, for warmer climates and the ultimate sun and sea cruise experience. She is set to come into service in June 2018, just six months after MSC Seaside will first come into service in December 2017 with her Grand Voyage from Trieste, Italy to Miami, USA in December 2017.

MSC Seaview will sail her inaugural 2018 summer season in the Mediterranean, offering holidaymakers the chance to experience the jewels of this region like never before on a cruise ship. Guests will discover seven different lively ports from four countries, all without unpacking a suitcase - Genoa, Naples, Messina, Valetta, Barcelona and Marseille.

Following this inaugural season, the ship will follow the sun to Brazil and the Southern hemisphere for the winter 2018-2019 season, with an itinerary that includes Santos, Ilha Grande, Buzios, Porto Belo and Camboriu.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman, commented: “The float out of MSC Seaview is another significant milestone in the expansion of our fleet. She is part of a ten year investment plan that will have already seen the delivery of six new ships by 2020.”

“At MSC Cruises, we are truly leading the way with our ship designs, as each new class of ships that we bring into service is rooted in meeting the needs of holidaymakers of different ages, demographics and holiday desires. With MSC Seaview, in particular, our vision has been inspired by our passion for the sea and we are appealing to guests who are seeking the classic elements of a holiday – sun and sea - taken to the next level with a one-of-a-kind fully immersive and interactive seaside experience even whilst cruising at sea.”

Mr Vago concluded: “We are already the market leading cruise brand in the Mediterranean and Europe and the deployment of MSC Seaview in this key region will help us further push boundaries by bringing one of the most innovative cruise ships to an area that we are deeply committed to and is a cornerstone of our business.”

Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, stated: “MSC Seaview is a challenge that Fincantieri is proud to carry out successfully, as demonstrated by the milestone reached today. She is a spectacular ship, the second of a new generation that is testing all of our best technical and managerial skills, considering that the float out takes place less than nine months away from that of the prototype that launched this class of ships, MSC Seaside. These two beautiful ships require a real endeavour and our Group will deliver them to meet the high expectations of the shipowner in terms of reliability and product quality.”

The float out is a key milestone in the construction of a cruise ship, as it is the moment when the vessel is first touched by water as her dry dock is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock for the final phase of her construction. The exterior of the ship is now complete and work moves to complete interiors, fixtures and furnishings.

At 323 metres long with a 154,000 GRTs, the ship will feature a maximum capacity of 5,179 guests. MSC Seaview is the second of two identical ships in the Seaside class. Her sister ship – MSC Seaside – is set to enter service later this year in November. MSC Seaview will be the third next-generation ship coming into service in just 12 months, following on from MSC Meraviglia (June 2017) and MSC Seaside (December 2017).

Carnival Horizon to Feature Cruise Line's First Teppanyaki Restaurant
Carnival Cruise Line will introduce its first-ever teppanyaki dining venue when the new 133,500-ton Carnival Horizon debuts in Europe in spring 2018.

Teppanyaki is a traditional method of Japanese cooking whose name is derived from the combination of the words “teppan” or iron plate with “yaki” meaning grilled or pan-fried. Teppanyaki combines ancient Japanese cooking techniques with modern performance art to create a feast that is both culinary and visual.

Located on Carnival Horizon’s Promenade Deck, Bonsai Teppanyaki will offer a wide-ranging menu with authentic delicacies from the Far East prepared by highly skilled chefs who will create tantalizing dishes on custom-built stations that form the center of the venue’s two eight-seat tables.

In keeping with Carnival’s atmosphere of spirited and participatory fun, dinner at Bonsai Teppanyaki will be an unforgettable culinary experience with chefs engaging with diners and dazzling them with their amazing knife skills and other performance elements.

“Carnival is all about providing our guests with a wide array of choices and that, of course, includes a seemingly endless array of delicious culinary options,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

“The new Bonsai Teppanyaki promises to be a wonderful addition to the Carnival Horizon, offering delectable cuisine from the Far East enhanced by show-stopping performances by our talented and engaging chefs,” she added.

Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and Chairman Micky Arison's Family Foundation to Donate $2 Million to Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
Carnival Cruise Line, and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging a minimum of $2 million to relief and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2004.

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation, are each donating $500,000 to Harvey disaster relief efforts, for a total donation of $1 million from the company. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation's commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.

To help generate additional relief funds, cruise guests sailing on certain Carnival Cruise Line cruises will have the option to make a donation when they check in for their cruise, while the corporation's brands and employees will be participating as well.

"Our hearts go out to all those who have been impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath, and all of us throughout the Carnival Corporation family feel a responsibility to do our part in supporting relief and rebuilding efforts in a region that we call home and where so many of our guests and business partners live and work," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "We are very committed to the Gulf Coast as a vibrant and special part of the North American cruise industry, and our commitment will remain as strong as ever during the region's recovery process. We know this storm is still active, so we will continue to hold positive thoughts for everyone in the region while exploring ways to support affected communities as they recover and rebuild."

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Corporation are working together with emergency response authorities, community leaders, and key relief and recovery organizations to identify the most urgent needs and immediate allocations for the donated funds. The donation will be used to maximize positive impacts on recovery efforts and support on-the-ground teams that are distributing emergency supplies and aiding rebuilding efforts targeting the most affected families in the region.

Carnival Corporation's support will help relief and recovery organizations provide families with access to food, shelter, water, hygiene products, general necessities, medicines and healthcare supplies as they begin the relief and recovery process after initial life-saving and well-being needs are met.

Silversea Announces Creative Partnership With Photographer Steve McCurry
Silversea Cruises and photographer Steve McCurry today announced a global creative partnership that will chronicle Silversea's extensive fleet and portfolio expansion designed to take guests to some of the world's most intriguing and remote destinations.

McCurry, one of the foremost photographers of his generation, is best known for his haunting portrait of a green-eyed Afghan refugee girl in National Geographic. A master of visual storytelling, McCurry has traveled the world for four decades capturing vibrant cultures and the human experience. His color-saturated images have appeared on international magazine and book covers, in major gallery and museum exhibitions, and in permanent and private collections worldwide.

Silversea's luxury and expedition itineraries offer guests more than 850 destinations in more than 130 countries on all seven continents, more than any other cruise line. The company's purpose-built fleet features sleek, smaller vessels that can navigate narrow waterways to reach the most secluded ports and destinations. Its newest vessel, Silver Muse, is redefining ocean travel by enhancing the small-ship intimacy with spacious suites that are the hallmark of the Silversea experience. The addition of Silver Muse expands the line's fleet to nine ships, creating a new standard of elegance in the ultra-luxury cruise market.

"Silversea has launched the most ambitious fleet and product expansion in its history, with the goal of unlocking new territories for guests and going deeper," Barbara Muckermann, Chief Marketing Officer at Silversea Cruises, says. "Steve McCurry's artistry and storytelling align perfectly with Silversea's immersive experiences, intimate vessels and unforgettable destinations. He has the ability to capture the authentic beauty in the world, and express it with passion and clarity. We look forward to capturing the emotion and inspiration of global travel through Steve's lens."

McCurry's art has taken him from war-torn Afghanistan to rural villages in India to the collapse of New York's twin towers on 9/11. Since his iconic Afghan Girl portrait in 1984, McCurry has published more than a dozen books; won scores of professional awards including the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his coverage of the war in Afghanistan; shot the last remaining rolls of Kodak's Kodachrome film in a portrait project; and collaborated with timeless global brands including Valentino, Vacheron Constantin and the Pirelli calendar. "You're present, in focus; that's traveling, to me," McCurry says. "It's an urgent need to go and observe this world that we all share."

Even after decades of exploration, McCurry believes he has many more stories to tell. "There's always room for discovery," he says.

Royal Caribbean Teams Up With Shay Mitchell As Adventure Ambassador
Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with award-winning actress and avid traveler Shay Mitchell to be the brand’s Adventurist ? an adventure adviser and storyteller for the world’s most adventurous cruise line. In addition to embarking on inspirational journeys with the brand and sharing her experiences, Shay will collaborate with Royal Caribbean experts to develop a series of destination experiences for the ultimate Caribbean cruise, to be revealed this fall. As a seasoned traveler, Shay will personally set sail on board one of Royal Caribbean’s adventure-packed ships this month to begin shaping the new, Shay-recommended adventures.

“I’ve always had a love for travel, and am fortunate to have been able to explore some of the most amazing places around the world, learning quickly that the journey is as important as the destination,” said Shay. “I’m thrilled to take what I have learned from my own travels and dive in with Royal Caribbean to develop the ultimate Caribbean adventure for travelers like me, who are always seeking something new and craving deeper connections to the destinations they visit.”

“It’s in Royal Caribbean’s nature to seek and deliver the unexpected – the adventures and experiences that make travelers’ jaws drop, their adrenaline rise and their memories unforgettable,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “When we started to think of who could perfectly embody what vacationing with us is all about in our newly created Adventurist role, Shay was someone who rose to the top immediately. She personifies who we are and our spirit – the spirit to ‘Come Seek.’ The ideas that Shay brings to the table will help create an adventure in the Caribbean that will redefine what many think of as a cruise vacation and inspire the next generation of cruisers.”

A star in one of TV’s most popular dramas, “Pretty Little Liars,” Shay’s adventurous spirit has led her to visit some of the world’s most inspiring destinations, from hot-air ballooning over Morocco to skydiving in Dubai. She’s become an expert at seeking out authentic experiences, sharing them with her following of more than 17 million across several social media platforms, including her immersive YouTube series – Shaycation – which debuted in 2015 and gives viewers an inside look at her wanderlust-inducing explorations.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.55 + 0.07%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 120.76 + 0.64%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.17 + 2.84%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.88 + 3.62%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the name of the cruise ship that caught fire during a Christmas cruise in 1963 and sank six days later?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Many people konw that Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's Canberra served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982, but can you name the other former liner that was also pressed into service during the conflict?

Answer - The other liner pressed into service during the Falklands war was the Uganda of BI Discovery Line.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe


Cruise News - August 21, 2017

It's a "Total Eclipse of the Heart" as DNCE and Bonnie Tyler Celebrate Rare Celestial Moment on Royal Caribbean
Today the only place on Earth to see Bonnie Tyler and DNCE perform "Total Eclipse of the Heart" during the Great American Eclipse – a total solar eclipse 99 years in the making – was on board Royal Caribbean International's adventure-packed Oasis of the Seas. Tyler, known as the international first lady of rock, joined multi-platinum selling band DNCE in an exclusive performance of the popular ballad for guests on the cruise line's once-in-a-lifetime Total Eclipse Cruise.

"As if moving our ship to sail along the eclipse's path of totality to give our guests 100 percent visibility of this phenomenon wasn't enough, we wanted to take it to another level – just above 'out of this world'," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "Royal Caribbean is known as the most innovative cruise line, always pushing to create bigger and bolder adventures for vacationers. We're excited to have DNCE and Bonnie on board, and even more thrilled to have seen the looks on our guests' faces when she was brought on stage to sing 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.' This is what we live for – to make unforgettable memories. "

As the moon made its way to cover the sun for the celestial event of the century, DNCE took center stage in Oasis of the Seas' open-air AquaTheater, performing the band's chart-topping hits, including "Kissing Strangers," "Body Moves" and, of course, "Cake by the Ocean." The concert culminated in the ultimate performance by DNCE and the Welsh-born singer. All eyes were on Joe Jonas and Tyler, alongside DNCE bandmates Cole Whittle, JinJoo and Jack Lawless, as they sang a powerful remix of Tyler's classic, paying tribute to the solar eclipse.

While on board Oasis of the Seas, one of the world's three largest cruise ships, the performers will explore the ship's seven distinct neighborhoods and experience unmatched adventure from flying across the ship on a zip line nine decks high to catching waves on one of the ship's two FlowRider surf simulators, and scaling to great heights on one of the ship's signature rock walls. The 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise set sail on Aug. 20 from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida and will visit Eastern Caribbean destinations including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, Bahamas.

Guests, Crew Aboard the ‘Fun Ships’ Celebrate Total Eclipse Carnival Style
Guests and crew aboard Carnival Cruise Line joined millions of individuals across the U.S. to celebrate the total eclipse of the sun which took place yesterday at approximately 2 p.m. EDT.

Upwards of 20,000 special glasses were provided on board to view this rare and fascinating astronomical event which is the result of the alignment of the sun, Earth and moon to block sunlight from reaching the Earth and doesn’t happen again for another seven years.

A number of fun eclipse-themed activities were also held across the fleet, everything from viewing and sailaway parties complete with appropriate music, games and more to a Sun Dance Competition with participants vying to “bring out the sun” on deck. Aptly, Blue Moon beer specials were available, as well.

Princess Cruises Ships Present Unique Viewing For Great American Eclipse
For the first time in 99 years, a total eclipse of the sun will pass over the continental United States on August 21, and Princess Cruises guests sailing on six cruise ships in Alaska will be invited to special viewing parties as part of the cruise line's exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program.

From the top decks in Alaska, nearly 18,000 guests aboard Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess will be invited to enjoy an approximately 54 percent view of the eclipse. Guests will be provided specially-branded Science Channel™/Discovery at Sea eclipse glasses for ultimate viewing, paired with educational background on what causes an eclipse from the exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea staff as they provide a "tour" of three intervals the morning of August 21.

"Through our exclusive partnership with Discovery Communications, we're able to offer expert tips and background from Science Channel experts that provide intriguing commentary around this rare phenomenon and for the ultimate viewing party onboard," said Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president, entertainment experiences.

The Great American Eclipse onboard event is part of the Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program which is led by Discovery at Sea Science Channel Ambassador and astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi who has created entertaining family stargazing programming enabling the crew to lead cosmic voyages from the ship's top deck.

Branded posters, Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center solar projector building projects and even specialty Eclipse Cookies also will be offered to celebrate this rare occasion.

Seabourn Names Captain For New Seabourn Ovation
Seabourn announced this week that it has named Stig Betten as captain of its newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation, and Helmut Huber as hotel director.

Betten will oversee all operations of the line's newest vessel, which is scheduled to launch in May 2018 in Italy. Huber will oversee the hotel department, which includes suites, housekeeping, and food & beverage services.

"These gentlemen are two seasoned professionals and they will be fantastic as we launch Seabourn Ovation," said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "They both have years of luxury experience to guide them and our guests and crews have really enjoyed their distinct personalities during prior assignments on our ships. I'm confident they will do well as they provide leadership throughout the ship's delivery and into the maiden season."

Betten was born and raised in the small village called Surnadal on the west coast of Norway. Hailing from many generations of seafarers, it was natural for Betten to follow in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and great grandfather by choosing a career at sea. Betten began his seagoing career in 1997, initially with a Norwegian seismic exploration company. He joined Seabourn in 2001 and has worked his way up the ranks from Second Officer to Captain. He has been assigned on past Seabourn ships Pride, Spirit, and Legend, as well as Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest, including being a part of the start-up team as Staff Captain during the construction of Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest. When he is not at sea, Betten enjoys spending time with his family in Istanbul. When visiting his hometown in Norway, he enjoys fishing, trekking and hunting.

Huber is a native of Innsbruck, Austria. He started his career in the cruise industry in 1992 as a busboy/assistant waiter, working his way up through various positions to the management level. After almost 10 years at sea, Huber decided to go back to university, acquiring several degrees and certificates. Once he completed his studies, he returned to the hospitality industry in Food & Beverage and Hotel Management positions at luxury properties before returning to the cruise industry in 2007. Huber joined Seabourn in 2015 as Hotel Director. He splits time between Innsbruck and Los Angeles during his time off, where he enjoys activities such as scuba diving, snow skiing, mountain biking and travel.

Seabourn Ovation will expand and build on the line's award-winning and highly acclaimed Odyssey-class ships, which revolutionized ultra-luxury cruising with enhanced accommodations and innovative amenities when they were introduced between 2009 and 2011. Seabourn Ovation will maintain the line's high ratio of space per guest, enabling highly personalized service. A sister ship, Seabourn Encore, launched to much acclaim in December 2016.

Designed by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, Seabourn Ovation will feature modern design elements and innovations consistent with the line's reputation for understated elegance in a yacht-like environment. The 40,350-GRT ship will be configured to carry just 600 guests, based on double occupancy. Every suite will also feature a private veranda supported by impeccable service.

Carnival Paradise To Offer Five Additional Cruises To Havana In 2018
Following strong response to its first-ever cruises to Cuba announced earlier this year, Carnival Cruise Line has added five more voyages featuring extended calls in Havana in 2018.

The new voyages include three five-day cruises to Havana and Cozumel or Key West departing Feb. 17, July 2 and Sept. 5, 2018; a six-day sailing featuring Havana and Grand Cayman departing Aug. 26, 2018; and an eight-day voyage with stops at Havana, Grand Cayman and Cozumel departing Aug. 18, 2018.

All of the voyages include a day-long call and overnight in Havana with the eight-day cruise of Aug. 18, 2018, offering two full days at the historic Cuban capital.

"Our cruises to Cuba have been very well received and we're delighted to provide our guests with additional opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating and sought-after destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Earlier this year, Carnival announced a series of four- and five-day voyages to Havana that kicked off in late June. Upcoming voyages in the initial program include four-day cruises departing Aug. 24, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 19, 2017 as well as May 3, 2018 and five-day voyages departing Aug. 28, Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, 2017.

Carnival Paradise guests can select from nearly 20 different shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba's vibrant culture, majestic beauty and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment, including newly added Cuban-themed entertainment and activities. Dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside eatery with a 24-hour pizzeria.

Celebrity Cruises Unveils New Industry-First Partnership for Aspiring West African Seafarers
Celebrity Cruises is proud to announce a unique partnership with the Regional Maritime University (RMU) in Ghana. For the first time in cruise industry history, female bridge officers will be openly recruited from a West African country through a new Celebrity Cadet Program in partnership with RMU.

With the announcement, the brand is also excited to welcome the first official new crew member from the program, RMU Cadet Nicholine Tifuh Azirh, who will be joining the bridge team onboard Celebrity Equinox.

The partnership with RMU came about when Celebrity's President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo met with students from the Mandela Washington Fellowship at Florida International University (FIU). There, she met Tifuh Azirh who shared her inspiring story of perseverance; Tifuh Azirh holds two degrees, yet following graduation she struggled to find opportunities in the maritime industry as an African female despite her academic performance, subsequent teaching at RMU, and cadet experience.

"After hearing Nicholine's story, I met with our SVP of Global Marine Operations, Patrik Dahlgren, to see what we needed to do in order to give her, and others, the opportunities they've earned. A year later, I'm so excited to share the news of our partnership with RMU and to welcome Nicholine onboard," said Lutoff-Perlo. "Nicholine isn't just a new-hire, she symbolizes hope for women around the world who dream of working in a very male-dominated industry; she's the face of our industry-leading partnership; and she is an incredible example of Celebrity's commitment to opening up the world."

"Nicholine's success is our entire world's success. Her story shows the power of win-win partnerships and the positive impact they have on our communities – and beyond," said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. "FIU is proud to be the only university in Florida to host the Department of State's Mandela Washington Fellows program – and use our resources, talent and partnerships to help prepare the next generation of our world's leaders. We are so proud to have been a part of Nicholine's journey to a successful career!"

"The goal of our partnership with RMU is to inspire and disrupt the social norms that burden female officers in western African nations, such as Ghana," said Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "Nicholine is our pioneer cadet and a pioneer for women in her country; moving forward, we will continue to evaluate candidates and continue to push the envelope in developing a growth sector for marine officers in a part of the world that traditionally underserves female officers."

Tifuh Azirh is scheduled to join the Celebrity Equinox family on August 27, 2017.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.50 + 0.69%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.99 + 0.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.11 + 0.96%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.86 - 2.78%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Many people konw that Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 and P&O's Canberra served as troop ships during the Falkland islands conflict in 1982, but can you name the other former liner that was also pressed into service during the conflict?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Cunard's Carpathia was torpedoed by a German Submarine and sunk in the Atlantic 17th July 1918.
courtesy of Janet Slee


Cruise News - August 14, 2017

NCL Unveils Features For Norwegian Bliss
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed features and amenities for Norwegian Bliss, the line's sixteenth ship, which has been designed for the ultimate cruising experience and will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean with select voyages to the Mexican Riviera beginning in June 2018. Custom-built for the spectacular, Norwegian Bliss will boast many firsts at sea for the global market including the largest competitive race track at sea and an open-air laser tag course. The ship's exciting new features will join the brand's signature elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian is known for across the globe including a myriad of mouthwatering dining options and a vibrant onboard atmosphere fueled by dynamic intimate spaces and a multitude of bars and lounges, award-winning youth programs and more.

"Norwegian Bliss will no doubt be our most incredible ship to date," said Stuart. "We have elevated Norwegian Bliss's onboard experience to new heights, bringing the best features from across our fleet plus exciting new first-at-sea activities like the largest race track and new dining concepts to create the ultimate cruising experience."

Imagine Exhilaration
Norwegian Bliss will boast excitement around every corner and delight guests with thrills, with activities spanning the entirety of the ship's top deck. Following overwhelming popularity aboard Norwegian Bliss' sister ship in China, Norwegian Joy, guests will be able to put the pedal to the metal for the first time aboard a North American-based cruise ship with a two level electric-car race track. The competitive track, the longest at sea at nearly 1,000 feet, will rev up the hearts of all who race around her many twists and turns with four speed settings accommodating novice, intermediate and advanced drivers, reaching up to 30 miles per hour -- with a special "turbo boost" available on each lap. The electric cars run silent so as to not disturb those seeking to enjoy the serene environment, but guests will have the full racing experience while they channel their inner Andretti, as the sounds of a race car engine are piped in through speakers located in the car's headrest.

After burning rubber at the race track, guests can test their agility at the open-air laser tag course. Themed as an abandoned space station, the course comes to life both day and night as guests go into stealth-mode and compete against family and friends with state-of-the art laser guns.

After working up a sweat, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can cool down at the ship's expansive pool and sundeck featuring two spacious pools and six infinity hot tubs that scale the side of the ship. The ship's Aqua Park also includes two multi-story waterslides. Not for the faint of heart, the high-speed Ocean Loops free fall slide includes two exhilarating loops, one that extends out over the side of the ship and a second see-through loop that stretches down to the deck below, sure to offer a wet and wild ride. The tandem Aqua Racer slide allows guests to race side-by-side on inner tubes for more than 360 feet, with a translucent section that provides stunning ocean views as guests twist and turn to the finish line.

Junior cruisers can splish, splash and have a blast at the Kids' Aqua Park, a watery wonderland of splash pads, water cannons, tipping buckets and slides. The little ones will also have a blast at Splash Academy, the fleet's award-winning complimentary youth program. Centrally-located on Deck 5, Splash Academy will offer age-appropriate supervised activities for children aged three to 12 with fun and energetic programming including games with the conservation-minded Officer Snook, a circus spectacular celebration, jungle-themed nights and more. Teens aged 13 through 17 will enjoy their own space aboard Norwegian Bliss on deck 5, Entourage, adjacent to the ship's arcade. The exclusive teen space features plush lounge furniture, gaming stations, foosball, air hockey and a dancefloor with neon lighting, as the space transitions to the hottest teen nightclub at sea in the evening hours.

Imagine Delectable
Foodies and cocktail connoisseurs will be able to dine, sip and savor to their heart's delight with a breadth of dining and bar options aboard Norwegian Bliss, including signature Norwegian favorites as well as exclusive new concepts that will debut aboard the line's newest ship.

Modern décor and premium ingredients will meet southern flavors at the all-new Q Texas Smokehouse, where guests will be able to tap their boots to the beat of live contemporary pop country music each night as they indulge in authentic Texas barbeque in a sleek urban setting. The new à la carte specialty restaurant will infuse an explosion of flavors in every bite with a selection brisket, ribs, chicken and sausages and more freshly smoked over hickory, oak and pecan woods.

The flavors aboard Norwegian Bliss will travel south-of-the-border with Los Lobos, offering an upscale, modern take on traditional favorites like fresh guacamole prepared tableside, al pastor tacos, enchiladas de mole, handcrafted margaritas featuring private-label Patron Barrel Select, Norwegian's own tequila blend, and more.

Sweets and treats will be served up day and night at Coco's, a completely new à la carte dessert venue located on deck 6 in the heart of the ship, 678 Ocean Place, where liquid chocolate in an enclosed oversized chocolate fountain will adorn its entranceway, delighting kids and kids at heart. The chocolate-themed dessert restaurant will feature handmade pralines, truffles, crepes and other decadent treats paired with fine coffees and teas.

In a nod to the ship's homeport of Seattle, guests aboard Norwegian Bliss can warm up for their glacier walk with a Caramel Macchiato or grab a Teavana Shaken Iced Green Tea Lemonade to sip on while lounging on a pristine Caribbean beach with a full service Starbucks store on board. Guests can start their day with Starbucks coffees, teas and bites available à la carte.

Norwegian will bring together the best of its specialty dining experiences aboard Norwegian Bliss with signature à la carte restaurants including French cuisine at Le Bistro; the tastes of Tuscany at La Cucina; the finest fresh seafood at Ocean Blue; global fusion cuisine featuring sushi, dumplings, handhelds and more at Food Republic; Cheeseburgers in Paradise at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at Sea; and handmade cupcakes and macarons at The Bake Shop. Teppanyaki, the brand's family-favorite Japanese hibachi steakhouse will also be onboard at cover charge pricing. Complimentary dining outlet The Local will offer guests pub fare in a relaxed neighborhood atmosphere 24 hours a day.

Norwegian's original beverage concepts will round out the ship's culinary offerings. The A-List Bar, named for Norwegian President & CEO and 30-year veteran Andy Stuart, will serve handcrafted cocktails, wines and premium spirits. The District Brew House will serve 24 beers on tap and more than 50 bottled beers. Local favorites on tap at The District will include craft beers from Red Hook Brewery and Elysian Brewery in Seattle as well as Wynwood Brewery and M.I.A. Beer Company in Miami. The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar will offer a curated wine list featuring 35 grape varietals including top selections from Washington-area vineyards, Tuscany and Michael Mondavi's own Napa Valley Estate. Paying homage to her homeport cities, Norwegian Bliss' beverage program will also feature a selection of local craft cocktails developed by Seattle-based celebrity mixologist and chef Kathy Casey as well as Miami-based Gabe Orta, one of the master curator's behind the city's ultra-popular BarLab concepts.

Imagine a New Scene
During her inaugural summer season, Norwegian Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. Unlike any other ship sailing the West coast, Norwegian Bliss will feature The Waterfront, a popular feature that debuted on Norwegian Breakaway in 2013; the outdoor promenade is designed to enhance guests' connection to the ocean with al fresco dining, bars and lounge spaces and offer spectacular views of Alaska's breathtaking scenery and wildlife or the Caribbean's stunning turquoise waters.

Norwegian's vibrant nightlife scene will be taken to the next level aboard Norwegian Bliss with live entertainment, electrifying deck parties and an expansive casino featuring hundreds of slot machines and table games to suit the likes of novice and pro gamblers alike. In a first for Norwegian, the casino will now offer a smoking and a non-smoking casino to cater to all guest preferences.

At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Norwegian Bliss is currently being constructed at MEYER WERFT in Papenburg, Germany and is scheduled for delivery in Spring 2018.

Cunard Prepares to Set Sail for QE2 50th Anniversary Celebrations
Cunard announced this week that it is honouring the 50th anniversary of its longest serving ocean liner, QE2, with a special voyage onboard the luxury cruise liner Queen Elizabeth.

The 50th anniversary of this much-loved ship will be remembered as Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton on Friday 8 September for a 17-night voyage. Departing guests will enjoy Venice's iconic canals, mythical Mount Etna in Sicily and Corfu's leafy beauty.

Angus Struthers, Vice President, Cunard said: "This mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2's launch and naming by HM Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago. When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn't last a decade in the age of the jet but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship."

He added: "Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder's remarkable life onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth; herself designed to offer a perfect luxury cruise holiday."

Celebrations focus on five special theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily programme, past-passenger gatherings and QE2 quizzes.

Themes include Moving in Royal Circles which looks back at the unique and special bond between QE2 and the Royal Family; The Falklands which acknowledges the ship's service as a troop ship in the 1982 conflict; Triumph of a Great Tradition examining the QE2's remarkable career achievements and the long history of Cunard 'firsts', and World Flagship in tribute to QE2's 26 world cruises that made her an icon in cities across the globe.

Celebrations culminate on QE2 Day - 20 September 2017 - exactly 50 years since the ship was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship's service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth's 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

As part of Cunard's renowned and award winning Insights Speaker programme, a number of special guests connected to QE2 will be sailing onboard. One such guest is Captain Ian McNaught, QE2's last Master, who said: "This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world's best loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that's further than any passenger ship - ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War."

He added: "What I remember most as her Master, were the passengers. Everyday people who saved up to experience life onboard the world's best loved ship. Many came back time and time again. That is a tribute to the countless people who served as QE2's crew, each one making the experience special and memorable. QE2 has been gone for nearly a decade now, however on her 50th anniversary the memory of her is strong. It is very fitting to be acknowledging the QE2's remarkable career here onboard Queen Elizabeth."

Other guests include Commodore R. W. Warwick who served as QE2's Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.

The voyage departs 8 September and returns 25 September.

Seabourn Announces New "Extended Explorations" Sailings In 2018 & 2019
Seabourn announced this week that it is offering new Extended Explorations voyages aboard Seabourn Sojourn during its fall 2018 and winter/spring 2019 season presenting guests with an opportunity to explore more of our extraordinary world.

Ideal for guests who prefer longer cruises and more exotic destinations, the new Extended Explorations voyages will include a range of unique itineraries ranging from 12 to 128 days in length in exotic locales such as the South Pacific, Hawaii, Australia & New Zealand, as well as Africa & Southeast Asia. Seabourn Sojourn, the guests' "home away from home," will visit more than 30 new and notable ports during these voyages.

Extended Explorations offers travelers a variety of ways to uncover new destinations by allowing guests to have an in-depth experience in a specific region or effortlessly move from one region to another. Adding a week, month, or an entire season offers many benefits for guests, including the opportunity for overnight stays in major ports with accommodations on board and ashore.

"All of our itineraries are designed to provide guests with a world-class luxury experience and some travelers prefer a longer, more leisurely cruising schedule with the chance to explore some very interesting parts of the world in-depth," noted Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. "These voyages show our ongoing dedication to providing memorable experiences in noteworthy destinations that are rich in culture."

Guests will also enjoy a wide range of added values and amenities throughout their Extended Explorations, including:

• Seabourn Conversations enrichment program featuring a line of up of distinguished speakers and personalities discussing topics of regional and cultural interest
• Wines produced in the various regions will be sourced and served for guests to enjoy in many venues on board
• Seabourn chefs will create special menus featuring distinctive regional dishes and cuisines to tease curious palates
• Regional guest chefs creating special dinner menus as well as hosting cooking demonstrations
• Special events taking place on the ship to celebrate local cultures and arts
• Itineraries feature frequent extended stays and overnights in select marquee ports, allowing guests to spend more time exploring unique destinations
• Optional mid-cruise Seabourn Journeys packages take guests to see significant area highlights and landmarks ashore
• Extended Explorations are combinable with other sailings for additional savings

The longest Extended Explorations voyage spans 128 days, from October 15, 2018 to February 21, 2019, departing from Los Angeles to Cape Town, South Africa.

For those who are not able to sail the longer voyages, guests can choose or in some cases combine shorter segments that best fit their schedules and interests, including: Fall 2018:

• "Isles of Polynesian Paradise" and "Isles of the Southern Cross": Los Angeles to Auckland Exploration (Departs October 15; 34 Days) – Explore Hawaii, Kiribati, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji, with three crossings of the International Date Line en route to Auckland. This itinerary is comprised of an 18 day and 16 day segment.
• "Landfalls of Captain Cook": Auckland to Sydney (Departs November 19; 22 Days) – Explore New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Queensland, Australia (including the Great Barrier Reef).
• "Holiday Australian Exploration": Sydney to Singapore (Departs December 11; 36 Days) – Sail to destinations throughout South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, as well as East Timor, and Komodo, Bali and Java in Indonesia.

Winter/Spring 2019:

• "Passage to the Seychelles" and "African Isles & Cape Coast": Singapore to Cape Town (Departs January 16; 36 Days) – Travel to ports in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Victoria, Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Mayotte, Mozambique, and South Africa. This sailing is comprised of a 14 day and 22 day segment.
• "South Africa & the Skeleton Coast": Cape Town to Cape Town (Departs February 21; 12 Days) – Visit ports in South Africa including Langebaan, Port Elizabeth and Mossel Bay before passing the Cape of Good Hope for Walvis Bay and Luderitz in Namibia en route to a round-trip return to Cape Town.
• "African Nights & Indian Ocean Isles" and "Myanmar & Malaysian Marvels": Cape Town to Singapore (Departs March 5; 36 Days) – Explore ports in South Africa, as well as in Madagascar, Réunion, Mauritius, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand and Malaysia, with an Equatorial crossing along the way en route to Singapore. This sailing is comprised of a 20 day and 16 day segment.
• "Jewels of Southeast Asia": Singapore to Shanghai (Departs April 10;18 Days) – Sail to ports in Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the People's Republic of China including Hong Kong, as well as Taiwan, and Ishigaki, Japan.
• "Gems of China, Korea & Japan": Shanghai to Kobe (Departs April 28; 18 Days) – Visit various ports in the People's Republic of China, South Korea including Incheon (Seoul), and Japan including Hiroshima, en route to Kobe.
• "Kamchatka & Kuroshio Route": Kobe to Vancouver (Departs May 16, 21 Days) – Discover Aomori and Otaru in Japan, Petropavlovsk (Kamchatka) in Russia, and various ports in Alaska including Kodiak Island and Ketchikan, plus scenic cruising on Glacier Bay and the Inside Passage en route to Vancouver.

Princess Cruises Eighth Annual Relaxation Report Reveals Half of Americans Don't Get the Sleep They Need
Leading up to National Relaxation Day on August 15, Princess Cruises has released the results of its eighth annual Relaxation Report, which has revealed that when it comes to relaxation and sleep, many Americans are in need of a wakeup call. According to results of the survey by Wakefield Research for Princess Cruises, Americans aren't carving out enough time in their days for sleep or relaxation, with approximately half (49%) reporting they aren't getting the sleep they need and 78% saying they don't set aside time to relax each day.

Relaxation and sleep go hand-in-hand, and the lack of both appears to be catching up with Americans. Rather than getting the most enjoyment out of their vacation, working adults take an average of four days off per year just to catch up on sleep. Whether it's a full vacation or even just a few minutes of downtime, learning how to carve out more "me" time is clearly becoming a necessity. Even going on vacation doesn't guarantee better rest, according to the survey, which found that 63% of Americans frequently struggle to get a good night's sleep while on vacation.

As one of the world's largest international premium cruise brand, Princess Cruises, is committed to ensuring its guests come back from vacation feeling refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated. As part of its Come Back New Promise, Princess Cruises partnered with leading experts in both the science and beauty of sleep to develop the Princess Luxury Bed. Together with board-certified sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus and designer Candice Olson, Princess Cruises now delivers its guests the ultimate night of sleep at sea.

"The number one advice I give people is that sleep is a sensory experience and all five of your senses must be prepared for slumber in order for you to fall asleep easily and stay asleep all night long," said Dr. Breus. "I'm thrilled to have partnered with Princess Cruises and believe we have come up with a bed that will allow guests to achieve the ultimate in rest and relaxation."

The Relaxation Report revealed factors that Dr. Breus notes are causes for Americans to not get the sleep and relaxation they need, including:

• Consuming caffeine too late in the day - caffeine can linger in the system for up to eight hours, and yet 44% of Americans admit to drinking caffeine at 2 p.m. or later
• Indulging in a nightcap - Even though alcohol can prevent people from getting quality sleep, more than half (53%) of Americans age 21 or older admit to having had a drink within three hours of going to sleep in the past last two weeks
• Stress over current events - For 67% of Americans, today's political climate has made it harder for them to relax. Taking a break from the 24/7 political news cycle may be the prescription for more relaxation and better sleep
• Not sticking to a schedule - One in four Americans (25%) don't go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Setting a consistent alarm is an easy way to get more satisfying sleep
• The urban grind - The hustle and bustle of the city can take its toll on the body. Working city-dwellers are significantly more likely to take five or more days off per year just to catch up on sleep (45%) compared to just 25% of those who live in the suburbs and 24% of those who live in rural areas
• Not using time off - Among working Americans, about 1 in 3 (31%) didn't use all the time available to them. Among Americans who didn't use all of their paid time off, the top reason is they had too much work to get done (37%)

The Princess Luxury Bed is rolling out to more than 44,000 staterooms through 2019. The bed features a plush, two-inch thick pillow top, a nine-inch, single-sided medium firm mattress for enhanced support, individually wrapped coils for less partner disturbance, a European-inspired duvet and 100% luxurious Jacquard-woven cotton linens. The Princess Luxury Bed is also now available for guests to order for their homes via www.princessluxurybed.com.

To prepare guests for the ultimate night of sleep at sea, Princess Cruises and Dr. Breus optimized the staterooms for a sleep-friendly sensory experience. As an extension to the sensory stateroom offerings, we offer a SLEEP by Princess Kit which includes additional sleep-inducing items such as eye shades, earplugs, aromatherapy scents, Dr. Breus' Good Night™ app and more.

Carnival Corporation Launches Sustainability Website
Carnival Corporation today released its 2016 sustainability report as part of the launch of its new dedicated sustainability website.

The report and complementary site detail the company's sustainability efforts and the progress made in 2016 toward its 2020 sustainability performance goals. The report was prepared in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 "core" level, and a full copy can be downloaded from Carnival Corporation's new site.

In 2015, Carnival Corporation announced its 2020 sustainability goals, establishing 10 goals for reducing its environmental footprint while enhancing the health, safety and security of its guests and crew members and promoting sustainable business practices among its brands, business partners and suppliers.

The 2016 report and website, Sustainability from Ship to Shore, confirm the company is ahead of schedule on reducing its carbon intensity and is on track to meet its additional sustainability goals during the next three years across its 10 cruise brands.

"We take our commitment to sustainability and the environment very seriously and take proactive measures to ensure that sustainability is ingrained in the core of our business practices," said Bill Burke, chief maritime officer for Carnival Corporation, whose industry-leading cruise lines sail to more than 760 ports around the world. "Our top priority is to consistently exceed our guests' expectations for a great cruise vacation – and that includes providing an exceptionally safe, comfortable and enjoyable environment for our guests and crew members, while at the same time maintaining our deep commitment to protecting the oceans, seas and destinations we visit."

Added Burke: "We have a great team of employees, most of whom work and live at sea, and we all understand a healthy environment is not just an operating necessity, but it is also the right thing to do. We want our guests to be confident that when they book a cruise vacation with one of our brands, they are doing so with a responsible global corporate citizen."

As part of the site, Carnival Corporation's president and CEO Arnold Donald invites readers to join the cruise company on its sustainability journey through a welcome video that highlights key elements of the company's commitment to sustainability. On the new site and report, easy to read messaging – enhanced by colorful graphics, engaging photos and videos – provides updates on progress made during 2016 in sustainability performance. The report was designed to share sustainability practices with stakeholders, including the company's employees, the millions of guests who cruise with Carnival Corporation brands and investors.

Notable progress made by Carnival Corporation in 2016 that is highlighted in the report includes:

• Being ahead of schedule in achieving a nearly 25 percent reduction in CO2e (equivalent carbon dioxide) relative to the 2005 baseline.
• Pioneering the use of LNG (liquefied natural gas), the world's cleanest burning fossil fuel, and introducing the first cruise ship ever fueled with LNG from trucks while in port.
• Continuing to make progress in installing Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems, which significantly improve air emissions by reducing sulfur compounds and particulate matter from engine exhaust – by the end of 2016, 59 percent of the fleet was equipped with the systems (and a larger percentage is equipped with the systems as of today).
• 40 percent of the fleet was equipped with cold ironing capabilities by the end of 2016, which allows ships to use an alternative power source while in port.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.03 + 0.04%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 119.61 + 1.57%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.09 - 0.00%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 57.46 + 1.43%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What ever became of Cunard's Carpathia that became famous for rescuing the survivors of Titanic?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What was the first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II?

Answer - The first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II was the Stockholm.
courtesy of Timothy Edgecombe, Vancouver, BC.


Cruise News - August 7, 2017

Carnival Paradise Passengers Enjoying Wide Variety of Cuban-Themed Activities on Board
Carnival Paradise inaugurated Carnival Cruise Line’s first-ever voyages to Havana, Cuba, in late June – the first of 12 voyages that feature the historic Cuban capital.

In addition to the opportunity to experience and explore this fascinating and previously off-limits destination, guests sailing aboard these four- and five-day voyages are enjoying a wide variety of Cuban-themed activities and entertainment, highlighted by Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance, a dazzling high-energy show that showcases both classic and contemporary Latin hits.

Part of the line’s popular Playlist Productions shows, Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance features a sizzling four-piece Cuban band and a talented eight-member cast who have audiences singing and dancing in the aisles as they perform songs by top Latin artists, including Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and Pitbull, amid a tropics-inspired backdrop of Cuba and Miami. The show leads into the Havana Nights Deck Party, a Cuban-themed soiree where Amor Cubano cast members are joined by a DJ to keep guests dancing on Lido Deck into the wee hours.

During Carnival Paradise’s cruises to Havana, guests can also participate in Cuban-themed games and hone their dance moves with salsa lessons led by the Playlist Productions team. There’s also a lecturer on board who discusses the country’s rich history and culture.

Carnival Paradise will operate 10 four- and five-day cruises to Cuba between now and May 2018. Upcoming four-day cruises depart Aug. 14, Sept. 7 and 21, and Oct. 5 and 19, 2017, as well as May 3, 2018, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana. Five-day voyages depart Aug. 14 and 28, Sept. 25 and Oct. 9, 2017, and include a daytime and overnight visit to Havana as well as a stop in either Cozumel or Key West.

Sweden’s Bassoe Technology Announceds Plans to build Expedition Cruise Ship
Sweden’s Bassoe Technology released design details for its Vega Expedition Cruise Ship. The vessel which will feature 100 spacious all balcony suites and staterooms for up to 240 passengers, is designed for worldwide operations in Polar Regions and tropical areas and complies with all requirements, environmental standards and other rules and regulations, including the new IMO POLAR Code.

According to Bassoe, the Vega has been designed to offer its passengers an expedition and destination travel experience, visiting remote and spectacular environmental areas without sacrificing any comfort. The layout has been developed with the intention of offering the vessel’s passengers an extensive day and night time experience, with facilities to offer marine activities, lectures, fine dining, spa and recreation as well as late night shows. However, this has been achieved without sacrificing the flexibility required to meet specific Owner preferences.

The Vega was initiated by CIMC Raffles and has utilized its Scandinavian marine and offshore engineering subsidiary Bassoe Technology to create the design. During the development, special attention has been paid to safety, fuel efficiency, low noise and low vibrations as well as minimizing emissions.

The Vega will be built at CIMC Raffles, drawing upon its experience in the construction of sophisticated high quality and robust offshore units intended for operation in the inhospitable conditions of the North Sea and sub-arctic areas, as well as in the building of luxury mega yachts through its Pride Mega Yacht division. For the Vega CIMC Raffles will utilize its network of experienced and internationally recognized suppliers to provide the equipment and furnish the interior.

The Vega will offer passengers the following features:

• Towering above the uppermost deck is a 360 degree observation lounge offering a sky bar which can also be utilized as a lecture area.

• Spa-area with sauna, massage rooms, gymnasium and other recreation facilities.

• Lido deck with infinity indoor/outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzis covered by a retractable roof.

• Grill restaurant offering both inside and outside dining.

• All suites and staterooms are generously spaced and fitted with veranda sized balconies. There are also two loft suits forward and four veranda/jacuzzi suites aft.

• A spacious atrium vertically connect the various decks and fill the interior with natural light.

• Entertainment deck with spacious outdoor walk-around. Main restaurant is located aft and can be divided into separate smaller restaurants of different themes or cuisine styles. Forward of the atrium is envisaged as a public lounge area but can be tailored to an Owner`s choice. The sidewalls can be opened for direct access to the walk around.

• Spacious theater for shows and lectures with convenient access to the walk-around.

• Marine lounge, handling area for watercrafts and a marina with shell doors for safe embarkation of RIB’s and tender boats.

Celebrity Cruises Appoints First Ever Female Captain in the Galapagos
For the first time in cruise industry history a female seafarer will navigate the rich archipelago of the Galapagos as captain. A native of Ecuador, Nathaly Albán will command the ultra-exclusive Celebrity Xploration; as captain of the recently revitalized catamaran.

With a total of 12 years experience sailing throughout the Galapagos, Captain Albán has worked on several ships in the region, first joining the Celebrity family in 2006 as third officer onboard the 100-guest Celebrity Xpedition.

Continuing the brand's dedication to advancing the role of women in leadership, Albán's appointment follows that of Celebrity Summit's own Captain Kate McCue.

"Empowering strong women and elevating them to deserved leadership roles is a cause that is close to my heart, and one that Celebrity Cruises truly values," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. "When the opportunity presented itself to promote Nathaly, who radiates passion and love for her job and for Celebrity, to captain, the decision was easy."

Albán was only one of six women in her graduating class at La Escuela de la Marina Mercante Nacional in Ecuador. Prior to graduating, she held a variety of roles in the maritime industry, most notably serving in the FLOPEC Tanker Fleet of the Ecuadorian Navy. Following her graduation, Albán worked on several ships in the region, including Celebrity Xpedition.

"Simply put, Captain Nathaly Albán was the ideal candidate for the job and we believe in celebrating and advancing our brightest talent," said Patrik Dahlgren, SVP of Global Marine Operations, Celebrity Cruises. "Our goal is to attract, develop and retain the best people from many different regions of the world and backgrounds. Our industry has typically been very male dominated - yet we believe in inclusiveness and opening up opportunities for all."

When asked how it feels to be named captain of Celebrity Xploration, Albán responded: "It is a great honor and privilege – I'm overwhelmed with positive emotion. I told my family many times that I would be wearing white one day and be the first woman to serve as a captain on a ship in the Galapagos, now it's happening and I'm committed to delivering the very best experience for all guests onboard."

Albán will begin her new role on Celebrity Xploration in August of 2017.

HAL's New Chocolate Surprise Is the Ultimate Decadent Dessert Parade
Holland America Line is reinventing the traditional dessert buffet by introducing a Chocolate Surprise parade on the last gala evening of every cruise. Rather than guests having to make their way to the buffet and wait in line for a sweet treat, Chocolate Surprise brings bite-sized confections to guests in the main public areas as they enjoy the evening's entertainment.

After dinner, waiters parade through the Promenade decks with trays of chocolate desserts, passing them out to guests in the bars and lounges as they take in music or enjoy a cocktail. The nearly hour-long parade is the newest addition to Holland America Line's growing list of culinary innovations that put an unconventional twist on a traditional event.

"Guests love our culinary events, particularly those featuring chocolate, and we wanted to create something special that enhances their evening activities," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "It's all about making the most of our exceptional service, and the Chocolate Surprise delights guests in a most delicious and memorable way."

The Chocolate Surprise menu includes rich, creamy and chocolaty bite-sized desserts that will delight even the sweetest tooth. As servers with silver trays pass by, guests can choose from chocolate cones with lemon curd, bittersweet chocolate and butter cream; double chocolate cupcakes; dark chocolate hazelnut pops; milk chocolate raspberry tarts; chocolate macaroons with Grand Marnier; chocolate-dipped marshmallows and caramel puffed rice treats with chocolate sauce.

Chocolate Surprise takes place on all ships fleetwide now and is in addition to even more tempting selections on the dessert menu in the restaurants.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 68.00 + 1.83%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 117.76 + 4.15%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.09 - 9.13%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 56.65 + 2.87%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What was the first new North Atlantic liner built after World War II?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
What is the largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built?

Answer - The largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built was Cunard's QE2.
courtesy of Robert in Newport News, Virginia


Cruise News - July 31, 2017

Royal Caribbean Reports Second Quarter Earnings
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) today reported US GAAP and Adjusted Earnings per Share ("EPS") of $1.71 for the second quarter. This represents EPS growth of nearly 60% over same time last year. Better than anticipated performance in the second quarter combined with favorable booking trends are driving an increase in Royal Caribbean's full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.45.

SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

US GAAP and Adjusted Net Income for the second quarter 2017 was $369.5 million or $1.71 per share, compared to US GAAP Net Income of $229.9 million or $1.06 per share and Adjusted Net Income of $235.2 million, or $1.09 per share in 2016.

Gross Yields were up 10.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Net Yields on a Constant-Currency basis increased 11.5%, exceeding prior guidance due to strong close-in demand driving higher pricing and occupancy.

Gross Cruise Costs increased 1.2% on a Constant-Currency basis. Constant-Currency NCC Excluding Fuel decreased 0.9%.

Bunker pricing net of hedging for the second quarter was $527 per metric ton and consumption was 324,000 metric tons.

FULL YEAR 2017

Royal Caribbean updated full year Adjusted EPS guidance to a range of $7.35 to $7.45, a $0.30 increase at the midpoint versus previous guidance. Bookings continue to be very robust.

Royal Caribbean's booked position for the remainder of 2017 continues to set new records. Looking further ahead, Royal Caribbean's booked position for the next twelve months is also strong, up on both rate and volume, versus the same time last year. Net Yields for the year on a Constant-Currency basis are expected to increase 5.5% to 6.0%, up relative to prior guidance due to the better results in the second quarter as well as stronger trends for the balance of the year.

NCC Excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 1.0% on a Constant-Currency basis for the year.

"Demand has remained strong, and we have captured the related revenue opportunity," said Jason T. Liberty, executive vice president and CFO. "These demand trends and continued cost discipline have resulted in the highest second quarter earnings in company history and have put us in position for another record year and achieving our Double-Double targets."

Taking into account current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects 2017 EPS to be in the range of $7.35 to $7.45 per share.

THIRD QUARTER 2017

Constant-Currency Net Yields are expected to be up 4.0% to 4.5% in the third quarter of 2017. Strong demand trends for Europe and North America products are driving improvement over an already strong previous year. NCC Excluding Fuel are expected to be up approximately 4.0% on a Constant-Currency basis.

Based on current fuel pricing, interest rates, currency exchange rates and the factors detailed above, Royal Caribbean said that it expects third quarter Adjusted EPS to be approximately $3.45 per share.

HAL Offers More Ways to Experience the Panama Canal in 2017-18 with Eight Ships and 35 Cruises
Travelers who want to transit the lakes and locks of the Panama Canal will have eight Holland America Line ships and 19 cruises to choose from between fall 2017 through spring 2018. In addition to the full transits, ms Zuiderdam will offer two Southern Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries that feature a partial transit through the Panama Canal.

"With transits ranging from 14 to 23 days, Holland America Line provides guests more ways to experience the famous waterway than any other premium cruise line. During the 2017–18 season, Holland America Line's full and partial transits will carry more than 400,500 guests through the Central American man-made marvel.

"The Panama Canal is among the greatest engineering feats of our time, and its easy access from a U.S. home port makes it one of the most popular longer itineraries we feature," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "There's no better way to become more immersed in the world than by experiencing something like the Panama Canal, where history comes to life as you witness up close what it took to connect these two oceans. Everyone should transit the Panama Canal at least once in their lifetime."

See Two Oceans on Full Panama Canal Transit
From September 2017 through May 2018, ms Amsterdam, ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam, ms Oosterdam, ms Westerdam and ms Zaandam will make 19 transits between the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean from five departure cities. Guests can set sail from Boston, Mass.; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; San Diego and San Francisco, California; and Vancouver, British Columbia. Cruise rates start at $1,199.

In addition to visiting the Panama Canal, the 14- to 23-day cruises include a variety of port calls along the way. On the full transits the guests will visit destinations in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the Caribbean. Additionally, most sailings visit Half Moon Cay, Holland America Line's award-winning private Bahamian island known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

Aruba, Bahamas and the Panama Canal on Partial Transits
In addition to the full transits, Zuiderdam will make sixteen partial transits between November 2017 and April 2018. The 10- and 11-day Southern Caribbean & Panama Canal Sunfarer itineraries include an exploration of the Canal's Gatún Lake and a combination of Southern Caribbean calls in Aruba, Bonaire, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Grand Cayman, Panama and Half Moon Cay. Cruise rates start at $1,099.

Explorations Central (EXC) Brings Panamanian Culture on Board
Throughout the voyages, EXC programming brings Panama's local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life on board. Through EXC Encounters, guests can practice their language skills, find out about local customs, or enjoy the simple pleasure of storytelling. Those who want to learn more can attend an EXC Talk where a Panama Canal expert recounts the history and drama of constructing the famous waterway. A Panamanian market on the Lido Deck is a highlight of the voyage where guests can indulge in regional delicacies such as empanadas, arroz con pollo, ropa vieja and pastel de tres leches.

The EXC Team will provide further customized guidance for the port calls, and online EXC Port Planners in partnership with AFAR Media offer exclusive tips and information for each destination. The in-stateroom EXC Channel will feature a selection of curated films, documentaries and TV shows exploring destinations on the ship's itinerary.

Cunard Welcomes Same-Sex Marriages on its Iconic Three Ships
Cunard announced this week that it has welcomed its first booking by a same-sex couple following a recent Supreme Court ruling enabling same-sex marriages in Bermuda, where Cunard's fleet of ships is registered.

The ruling means that Cunard, which has offered weddings on its ships for the past five years and has married over 250 couples, is one of the first British cruise lines to be able to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies at sea.

"Cunard is proud to become among the first cruise lines to offer same-sex marriages at sea," said Josh Leibowitz, senior vice president, Cunard North America. "Cunard has brought people together through travel for over 175 years, and we're proud to mark another milestone in our company's history as we welcome our first gay marriage booking and many other marriages to come."

Wedding ceremonies will be performed by the ship's Captain* and the marriage license will be issued by Bermuda.

Same-sex couples can now purchase a Cunard Wedding at Sea package, which includes:

• A romantic ceremony at sea conducted by the Captain*
• Wedding ceremony venue with floral arrangements
• Traditional wedding music
• Services of the on-board Wedding Coordinator
• Attendance of a professional photographer at the ceremony
• Commemorative wedding certificate
• An official copy of the marriage certificate
• The cost of the license fees
• A bottle of Champagne in the cabin on arrival
• Champagne for a toast after the ceremony
• Invitations and thank you notes
• Wedding outfit pressing service

Victory Cruise Lines to Sail to Cuba Starting Feb. 8, 2018
Victory Cruise Lines Victory I begins a series of six cruises this winter that will circumnavigate the island of Cuba roundtrip from Port of Miami. The inaugural Cuba cruise for the 202-passenger Victory I will depart Miami Feb. 8, 2018. The 14-night itinerary will feature five Cuban ports and overnight calls at the island's capital of Havana, historic Santiago de Cuba and Trinidad, with day calls at Cienfuegos, affectionately called "La Perla del Sur" by the locals, and Maria la Gorda.

Staying true to its all-inclusive philosophy, Victory Cruise Lines includes all shipboard cuisine and beverages (including spirits), as well as all shore excursions and port experiences, all in one price.

"We may not be the first cruise line to serve Cuba from the U.S., but we believe — and travel agents have told us — that we have created the best itinerary with our multiday port experiences that will allow our guests to really explore the country and its people in a more relaxed and well-paced way," said Bruce Nierenberg, president and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines. "Most cruise ships are too big to call anywhere except Havana and no cruise product has as many multiday stops in Cuba as Victory I. All Victory I 'Cuba 360' cruises will completely circumnavigate the island nation.

"What also distinguishes Victory Cruise Lines from other operators in Cuba is our intimate, classically furnished Victory I, which offers the finest dining and highest service levels in the market," Nierenberg said. "Add to that our immersive shore excursions and creative port experiences and our guests will have an unmatched opportunity to really get to know the culture and people of this undiscovered region and largest country in the Caribbean."

VCL's "The Best of Cuba Voyages" will sail roundtrip from Miami. All Victory cruises to Cuba fully comply with all U.S. regulations for Americans traveling to Cuba including recent regulatory changes announced by President Donald Trump and the U.S. State Department. All Cuban shore experiences will operate within U.S. guidelines for American travelers visiting Cuba. Victory Cruise Lines will provide certification of compliance with U.S. regulations for all guests on Victory I.

Victory I departs from Miami Feb. 8 and 22, March 9 and 24, and April 7 and 20, 2018. All-inclusive full fares start at $8,957 per person, double occupancy.

The 2018 winter season ends with an 11-day "Cuba and Colonial America" repositioning cruise that begins May 5 with a short flight from Miami to Havana (included) and an overnight stay at Havana. Victory I then departs Havana May 6 and will call at Jacksonville (St. Augustine), Florida; Charleston (Mount Pleasant), South Carolina; Norfolk (Yorktown), Virginia; Newport, Rhode Island; and Gloucester (Boston), Massachusetts, ending in Portland, Maine. Fares start at $6,890 per person, double occupancy.

Victory I will then reposition with an 11-day voyage from Portland to Toronto, Ontario, for a summer season of "Great Lakes Grand Discovery" cruises between Toronto and Chicago, Illinois.

Crystal Unveils New 'Getaways' For 2017
Crystal is expanding its numerous options for travelers seeking to explore the world in luxury, as the company unveils brand new "Crystal Getaways" for both Crystal Cruises and Crystal River Cruises. The Crystal Getaways – which span the globe to include the British Isles, Western Europe, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe along the Rhine River – are shortened itineraries of existing longer voyages, allowing travelers to experience Crystal's celebrated luxury with less commitment of time and additional savings.

"Luxury travelers continue to seek unparalleled service, amenities and experiences when they explore the world, even with limited time," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez. "Crystal Getaways allow travelers to enjoy a standard of luxury, excellence and unforgettable adventures, without stressing their calendars – while also realizing tremendous savings on the all-inclusive Crystal Experience."

In all, 17 abbreviated Crystal Getaways have been added to Crystal's 2017 roster of worldwide voyages, exploring the lush islands of the Seychelles, the UNESCO-recognized wine country of Bordeaux, the grandeur and innovation of the United Arab Emirates, the coast of the Cape of Good Hope, and the sparkling Christmas markets of Germany, Austria and Hungary. The 2017 Getaways include:

Crystal Cruises

• August 13, Honfleur to Liverpool, 5 days, Crystal Symphony
• August 18, Liverpool to London/Dover, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
• August 25, London/Dover to Bordeaux, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
• August 31, Bordeaux to Lisbon, 6 days, Crystal Symphony
• November 22, Dubai to Abu Dhabi, 4 days, Crystal Symphony
• November 26, Abu Dhabi to Port Louis, 13 days, Crystal Symphony
• December 1, Mahé/Victoria to Port Louis, 8 days, Crystal Symphony
• December 6, Fort Lauderdale to Barbados/Bridgetown, 8 days, Crystal Serenity
• December 9, Port Louis to Maputo, 7 days, Crystal Symphony
• December 14, Barbados/Bridgetown to Charleston, 6 days, Crystal Serenity
• December 16, Maputo to Cape Town, 6 days, Crystal Symphony

Crystal River Cruises

• November 17, Amsterdam to Nuremberg, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
• November 24, Nuremberg to Budapest, 9 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 3, Budapest to Nuremberg, 9 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 12, Nuremberg to Amsterdam, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 19, Amsterdam to Nuremberg, 7 days, Crystal Mahler
• December 26, Nuremberg to Budapest, 9 days, Crystal Mahler

Crystal Skye Joins The Crystal Fleet
Today, Crystal AirCruises welcomed the newest member of its expanding fleet, Crystal Skye, during an official handover ceremony held at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington. The exquisitely outfitted Boeing 777-200LR was delivered to Crystal's CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez from Greenpoint Technologies. Crystal Skye is the largest privately owned tour jet in the world and is deployed for chartered service, accommodating some of the world's most discriminating groups and travelers. Crystal Skye will be christened in Las Vegas on August 12.

"We are ecstatic to welcome Crystal Skye to the family, as she marks the beginning of a new chapter and realm of luxury travel for guests who seek the unmatched Crystal Experience," says Rodriguez. "As we embark on new global adventures with Crystal Skye, we are inspired by the shared vision of our own experts and those at Greenpoint Technologies, who brought this sky-high dream to fruition."

With a spacious design for up to 88 guests, Crystal Skye is appointed with features rarely found in even the most luxurious private jets. She has the highest crew to passenger ratio of any twin-aisle aircraft and a non-stop range of 19.5 hours, allowing travelers to explore the far reaches of the earth while enjoying the personalized service for which Crystal is renowned worldwide. Bespoke Crystal Exclusive Class™ seats are designed for maximum personal space and ergonomic comfort, and convert to 180-degree lie-flat beds. The expansive social lounge with stand-up bar fosters friendly camaraderie among luxury travelers. Cuisine will be prepared by an executive chef, in two state-of-the-art galleys and paired with an elegant premium wine list from the Crystal SkyeCellar.

Crystal collaborated with Greenpoint Technologies for the extremely specialized development of Crystal Skye, as the company is renowned for its innovation and leadership in the creation of superior aircraft design. Greenpoint Technologies worked alongside Crystal's own experts to conceive the standard of excellence and luxury required to ensure the unparalleled guest experience aboard a Crystal vessel, then brought the vision to life. The interior installation of Crystal Skye began in August 2016 at Greenpoint's Moses Lake facility in Washington, focusing on exclusive features such as a 24-seat lounge with a central bar, sofas, custom coved ceilings, the largest wine cellar in the sky and ample space to socialize. Stone veneers, colored LED lighting and other premium details adorn the extraordinary interior.

Bret Neely, Executive Vice President at Greenpoint Technologies says, "Our goal for this program was to create a luxurious interior showcasing the elegant brand Crystal has established with their cruise ships, yachts, and riverboats. Greenpoint is a company built on Teamwork. Both internally and externally with our customers. It was amazing to see the combined core team come together to focus on Crystal's guest experience, resulting in the beautiful and functional interior we see today."

Boeing 777 Crystal Skye is operated for Crystal AirCruises by Comlux Aruba NV.

On Cruise Vacations, Wine's Popular Pastime
Cruise vacations are an increasingly popular way to relax, unwind and recharge. And while at sea, there's opportunity for guests to embrace some of life's most enjoyable pleasures – with wine-tasting and learning about wines an area of interest for many. Whether guests are curious beginners or connoisseurs, shipboard wine collections are carefully curated to excite the senses with both classic and new tastes.

The efforts that go into the wine collections at sea are being recognized by wine experts as being extraordinary.

Carnival Cruise Line recently earned a prestigious 2017 Wine Spectator Award. The world's largest cruise line was applauded for its handpicked selections, chosen to complement the cuisine at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouses aboard Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Sunshine.

On cruise ships, wine-loving guests may choose a bottle from wine lists or purchase a valued-priced, multi-bottle wine package from a menu. Main dining rooms, specialty restaurants and wine bars also offer selections by the glass, allowing for experimentation.

Oenophile-focused shore excursions at select ports take you right to the vineyards for discussion about winemaking with vintners – in places such as Italy, France, New Zealand and Australia. On its Pacific Wine Country itineraries, Princess Cruises offers guests opportunity to tour wineries including in California's Sonoma County.

Onboard wine seminars provide guests opportunity to chat with experienced sommeliers and sample different varietals. Cruise lines such as Germany's AIDA Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia also offer theme cruises focused on food and wine, which bring additional experts onboard.

"A cruise vacation is a great time to try something new, and when it comes to wine, that is very much encouraged by the sommeliers onboard," said Jo Poelmans, senior manager, restaurant and bar operations for ultra-luxury line Seabourn.

"Wine is fashionable and also entertaining onboard ships," added Csaba Imre Szentpaly-Toth, Cellar Master on the Holland America Line's ms Zaandam. "Guests have opportunity on a concentrated basis to open their eyes to the secret world of winemaking, sommeliers, the art of food and wine pairing and the exciting history of wine-producing regions and people. We can lift the veil and introduce guests to new tastes and the rediscovery of old favorites."

Cruise lines select bottles from vintners around the world. Carnival Cruise Line alone orders hundreds of thousands of bottles of wine each year. Each of the line's 25 ships carries about 5,000 bottles of wine at any one time, with the stocks constantly being replenished.

Carnival Cruise Line's bestselling wines include Layer Cake Cabernet, Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, said Eddie Allen, vice president of beverage operations for Carnival Cruise Line. In main dining rooms, the wine menu features more than 100 wines available by the bottle and some 30 selections available by the glass.

For a quiet sip, visit The Library Bar on the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Sunshine or Carnival Vista (and coming next year on the new Carnival Horizon). In the relaxing, library-themed oasis, you can pour your own tastes from state-of-the-art self-serve wine dispensers.

The 12 ships of AIDA Cruises stock nearly 100 varieties from famous wine regions including in Germany, France and the United States, said Johannes Nagel, AIDA Cruises' senior manager of hotel services

The cruise line has its own branded AIDA Selection wine, a Frühburgunder (pinot madeleine), developed with Germany's Brogsitter winery. To celebrate the recent christening of the AIDAperla, AIDA Cruises is also serving a special Prima Perla Prosecco from the Veneto region of Italy.

Italy's wine heritage is at the forefront on Italian line Costa Cruises. The line recently partnered with The Wine Bank in Pollenzo, Italy (a cooperative founded by Carlo Petrini of International Slow Food Movement fame), on a sustainable and organic wine list – which features more than 100 labels from Italy and around the world. The line's traditional wine list also has iconic selections from Italy and elsewhere.

The most popular wine on Costa Cruises ships is a sparkling Demi-Sec from the Ferrari collection, said Marco Serra, a Costa Cruises corporate sommelier.

"Ferrari winery is an important piece of Italian wine history and on our ships you may find the entire Ferrari collection," Serra said. "The Trento Doc Ferrari Demi-Sec is obtained from Chardonnay grapes that are grown on the steep slopes of the mountains of Trentino."

On several of the ships of British line P&O Cruises, The Glass House restaurant is a stylish, sea-view haven for lovers of good food and wine. Award-winning wine expert, food connoisseur and TV personality Olly Smith (who comes onboard the ships several times a year to lead food and wine experiences) handpicked the bespoke collection of specialty wines, which includes classics and off-the-beaten-path blends. Forty wines are available by the glass and paired with tapas. The idea, according to Smith, is to spend the evening sipping and tasting in a "no snobbery" experience.

On the ships of P&O Cruises Australia, connoisseurs and newbies alike will want to check out selections that include labels from the renowned Hunter Valley, about 90 miles north of Sydney. With its five-ship fleet, P&O purchases nearly 100,000 bottles of wine from the Australian region each year – having a significant positive impact on local winemakers.

Onboard Pacific Aria, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Eden and Pacific Jewel, The Cellar Door wine bar is an innovative venue for tastings, master classes and seminars, run by onboard staff.

The venerable Cunard line shows its passion for wine in a collection that encompasses labels from the world's most famous Old World vineyards, tempting New World wines and carefully selected examples from smaller boutique vineyards.

Expert sommeliers onboard the three Cunard ocean liners assist guests with making their selections from an impressive, 48-page wine list. There's also a handy tasting guide rating white wines on a scale of very dry to luscious and red wines from light to full bodied.

Rare wines are available by the bottle or by the glass, via Cunard's groundbreaking Coravin system – which allows pours without removing the original cork. Among the precious tastes is a Cha^teau Lafite Rothschild. Guests might also choose a First Growth Wine Flight, featuring the five Premiers Crus of the Me´doc, complete with an explanation of their common theme and differences.

Cunard's wine list also includes the line's own private label of four varietals made from grapes from France's upper Minervois – there's a wonderfully complex chardonnay/viognier, cabernet sauvignon, Grenache/Syrah/Mourve`dre and a Grenache/Syrah Rose´.

For those serious about pursuing wine education, Cunard partners with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), the world's largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications, for courses offered shipboard.

In the Princess Cruises fleet, the Royal Princess and Regal Princess boast the largest at-sea collections of Super Tuscans – representing most of the brands available worldwide. Selections are showcased at the Tuscan-inspired specialty restaurant Sabatini's. To try a variety, sign up for the Super Tuscan Wine Tasting.

At the Vines Wine Bar, in a charming corner of the Piazza atrium on all of Princess Cruises' Grand- and Royal-class ships, there's opportunity to sample a selection of dozens of vintage wines and sparking wines. The menu includes wine flights and a selection of wines by the glass, served with complimentary gourmet nibbles. A new experience with Napa's Silverado Vineyards provides guests opportunity to try their hand at wine blending.

Wine connoisseurs on Regal Princess might consider booking a Wine Maker's Dinner, a unique, intimate dining experience held in a private space inspired by a wine cellar. The menus are developed in conjunction with noted winemakers and paired with matching wines.

Guests on Seabourn enjoy carefully chosen complimentary wines and champagne from a list of more than 40 varietals, while connoisseurs may choose additional options from a premium wine menu featuring more than 160 wine and 18 champagne labels.

Particularly impressive on Seabourn are selections from some small, family-operated vineyards in Napa – some are arranged via the cruise line's connection with culinary partner Thomas Keller, arguably America's greatest chef.

"We are honored to offer wines from Colgin Cellers and Lail Vineyards, for example, allowing our guests to try these extraordinary vintages," said the line's Poelmans. "We also carry some of the most exclusive French wines onboard such as Domaine de la Romanée-Conti. At the end of the day, we're Seabourn and we strive to deliver the best."

Holland America Line guests can choose from some 200 labels available at any one time, said the Zaandam's Szentpaly-Toth. The wine list changes by itinerary and destination, with separate lists for the main dining room and specialty restaurants.

"Our American guests are immensely interested in the European chic of wine history and sampling those vintages from France and Italy," Szentpaly-Toth said. "Our European crowd would try almost anything they can from California to Washington State."

The best sellers onboard Holland America Line ships include non-oak, barrel-aged whites, Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs from New Zealand and Super Tuscans. Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, has his name on a private label Super Tuscan that has resonated well with guests, Szentpaly-Toth said.

On the ms Koningsdam, there is also opportunity for guests to create their own wine at BLEND, a wine-blending experience offered in cooperation with Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington State's oldest winery.

Cellar masters on each of the Holland America Line ships sample wines, visit vineyards and are attentive to guests, both at tasting events and seminars and one-on-one. "I find our guests falling in love with our wine

Here are five tips from shipboard sommeliers:

  1. Let your wine steward know what you plan to order for your meal. He or she might suggest you order a powerful, fruity wine with your rack of lamb, for instance.
  2. Try wine with dessert. Sweet wine, such as a Moscato, pairs well with the bitterness of chocolate.
  3. Consider ordering wine based on the countries you are visiting. You might go for a Spanish wine in the Mediterranean or a Chilean wine in South America.
  4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Shipboard sommeliers and wine experts are there to help take your wine experience to the next level.
  5. Ask about the history and origin or the wines you order. There are stories behind the creation

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.78 - 0.31%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 113.07 - 2.31%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 + 1.32%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.07 - 1.18%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
What is the largest twin-screw ocean liner ever built?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which ocean liner had the first on-board movie theater/cinema?

Answer - The first theater/Cinema at sea was aboard the French Lines Normandie of 1935.
courtesy of Dave in LA


Cruise News - July 24, 2017

Victory Cruise Lines Acquires Second Ship
Victory Cruise Lines announced this week that it has acquired the sister ship of its sole vessel, the 202-passenger Victory I.

The acquired ship, to be called Victory II, will enter service in May 2018 starting with a series of seven-night Canada/New England coastal itineraries between Gloucester, Mass., and Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Ports of call are Provincetown, Mass.; Newport, R.I.; Plymouth, Mass.; Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.; Portland and Bar Harbor, Maine; and Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

"Our goal is to be the first choice in cruising the Great Lakes, Canada, the St. Lawrence Seaway and New England markets,” said Bruce Nierenberg, president and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines.

The line said it would pioneer a Lake Superior itinerary with Victory II, visiting Marquette and Houghton, Mich.; Duluth, Minn.; and Thunder Bay, Ontario. These itineraries also will feature Milwaukee, Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.; and Muskegon, Mich.

The two Victory Cruise Lines vessels were originally built as the Cape May Light and Cape Cod Light in 2001. Victory gained possession of the first vessel after the bankruptcy of the defunct Haimark Line in 2016.

Costa Cruises Launches Program To Battle Food Waste
Costa Cruises announced this week that they have joined forces with the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus on a project that will allow surplus food on board cruise ships to be retrieved and reused for the first time to help society. The project is being officially launched today on board Costa Diadema, the Italian company's flagship, during its call at Savona, and it involves collecting food on board that has been prepared but not served in the ship's restaurants and distributing it to a local organisation that provides assistance to children in need.

The launch was attended by the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda, promoter and sponsor of the Italian Law 166/2016 in favour of donations of surplus food and the Senator Andrea Olivero, Italian Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

"Being here today shows that the law against food waste, in force since last September, is bearing fruit and that the government has acted promptly and effectively, and most importantly has triggered a cultural change on the issue of the battle against food waste and support for those in poverty. We must be aware of the widespread responsibility that this issue brings with it and that involves everyone, to different extents and in different ways, be they institutions, citizens, volunteers or the business world, because everyone can play their own part to help change things," said Deputy Minister Andrea Olivero.

"I'm thrilled, and it's a great source of pride for me to see that the innovation introduced by Law 166/2016, approved by the Italian Parliament with an overwhelming majority and strongly supported by the government, is bearing fruit. This is proof that politics is useful, and very much so: Parliament has been able to put needs and good practices into order. Today, this ambitious project is sending out an important message: retrieving surpluses even in the most complex situations is not just a pipe dream, but it is genuinely achievable if everyone takes on their share of responsibility," said the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda.

"After the Gadda Law against food waste came into effect," said Andrea Giussani, President of the Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus, "we worked with Costa Cruises for eight months to organise a food surplus management procedure that would allow us to salvage high-quality and high-nutritional value food. Today we are very happy to know that this food will not be wasted but will be given to an organisation that provides assistance to children, at a time when ISTAT tells us that child poverty in Italy "has risen from 3.9% in 2005 to 12.5% in 2016. From now on, we will be focussing on extending this best practice to other ports in Italy, and we hope that all stakeholders will collaborate, as has happened in Savona."

"We are very proud of this initiative: it is something that is brand new for the cruise sector and something that Costa has been very keen to see take place. The Banco Alimentare is an authoritative partner and a point of reference in the fight against food waste, and it will allow us to donate surplus food to the people who need it most. We are beginning with Savona and our flagship Costa Diadema, but the common goal is to involve more and more ships and ports in Italy and the Mediterranean. Since preparing food for disembarkation is a unique occurrence, it has led to the direct participation of the Customs Agency and Maritime Health Organisation Agency in putting the finishing touches to the procedures for delivery, and it shows that it is possible to turn the opportunities provided by Law 166/2016 into something worthwhile. All this is a starting point for anyone who wants to join us in the maritime sector," said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises.

All year round Costa Diadema sails on one-week cruises in the Mediterranean that call at Savona on Saturdays. Every Friday, before the ship arrives in Savona, at the end of dinner, all dishes prepared in the restaurants and not served to guests (the "ready to eat" meals) will be collected. They will be placed in special aluminium containers that will be sealed and labelled to ensure that they can be traced, and then stored in the refrigerators on board. The next morning, after the ship docks at Savona, the containers will be unloaded and delivered to the Banco Alimentare volunteers, who will take them to Varazze (a town near Savona), to the Fondazione L'Ancora, which runs accommodation that is home to 20 children, as well as providing food aid to over 280 people in need, including refugees.

"The social impact of the Gadda Law is very important for organisations like ours," says Fausto Romano, Director of the Fondazione L'Ancora Onlus, "that assists people in need in overcoming the most difficult phases in their lives. The Fondazione L'Ancora ONLUS has responded enthusiastically to the collaboration with Costa Cruises and Banco Alimentare to devise a plan for collecting and distributing food surpluses, which means we will receive varied and excellent quality food. Last but not least, from an educational perspective, the issue of reducing waste and of food as a gift is an important communication and growth tool for the children." The Costa Cruises and Fondazione Banco Alimentare Onlus project, aimed at assisting those affected by poverty and social exclusion, has also been possible thanks to Law 166/2016 against food and pharmaceutical waste promoted by the Hon. Maria Chiara Gadda that came into effect on 14 September 14 2016. The law restructures the regulatory framework concerning donations of unsold foods with simplification, harmonization and incentive measures, making it easier to donate any type of food in a controlled and safe way like before, but most importantly it gives priority to retrieving food to be donated to the poorest people in our country.

Norwegian Cruise Line Announces 2017/2018 Meet the Wine Maker Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line today revealed the lineup for the brand’s 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker Cruises, a selection of cruises aboard Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn during which guests will have the opportunity to wine and dine with leaders and legends of the winemaking industry. The full series was revealed during the first Winemaker Dinner cruise of the season, held this week on Norwegian Escape and featuring Antonio Hidalgo, President of Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana. Hidalgo represents the 8th generation of the sherry winery, family owned and operated since 1792. Norwegian’s Winemaker Dinner series is hosted at the line’s popular wine venue The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, and is in celebration of Norwegian’s successful ongoing partnership with the family and other valued beverage partners, including Moët Hennessy.

“Given the incredible reception of Michael Mondavi’s past visits aboard our ships, we are excited to expand upon this concept to provide our guests the opportunity to get up close and personal with renowned experts within the winemaking industry,” said Mark Kansley, senior vice president of Hotel Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line. “As we strive to continually enhance our beverage program and onboard offerings, these partnerships represent our ongoing goal to serve as innovators in the cruising industry.”

In 2015, the Michael Mondavi Family partnered with Norwegian to introduce the line’s first branded wine bar aboard Norwegian Escape - The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar - boasting a curated wine list and service provided by a Court of Master Sommeliers certified Sommelier. The venue invites guests to participate in a variety of interactive, fun and educational wine activities including seminars, tastings, pairings and workshops. This partnership was further expanded upon when The Cellars opened aboard Norwegian Dawn in 2016 after ship-wide enhancements. Mondavi is recognized as one of the global emissaries of California wine and is widely credited with helping to establish and build the Napa Valley wine industry as we know it. The newly-announced series of sailings evolves from the popular and well-received visits Mondavi has made to Norwegian Escape in celebration of the partnership.

Guests aboard these select sailings will have several opportunities to engage with the wine makers and experts, enhancing their onboard experience with a variety of enriching seminars and activities. On the second day of each cruise, guests will have the chance to dive into the seasoned minds of the visiting experts with an open-forum question and answer session, held in the Atrium of the ship. Following the open forum, guests will have the chance to purchase featured wines selected by the wine makers and varietals from the ship’s wine list, meet the expert and have him sign the bottle to take home as a memento. The open forum and personal meet and greet are complimentary and open to all guests.

For a more intimate experience, guests can indulge in an interactive, hands-on wine tasting and educational seminar hosted by the vintner in The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. The vintner will take the guests on a tour of the winemaking world and the elements that complement it, providing tailored insight into their specific area of expertise. The tastings will feature wines hand-picked by the expert and brought on board for the seminar. Pricing for the tastings will be $19.95 per person.

Guests seeking an unforgettable gourmet experience can attend an exclusive wine dinner, hosted by the vintner or industry expert. They will be treated to a truly special event, consisting of five decadent courses paired with wine specifically chosen for each course. The cost of the dinner with wine pairings is $59.95 per person. Seating is limited for both the tasting seminars and wine pairing dinner and reservations will only be available on board the ship. The full lineup of the 2017/18 Meet The Winemaker series includes:

• September 22, 2017 - Norwegian Dawn: Michael Mondavi, founder of the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, co-founder of Folio Fine Wine Partners and co-founder of The Cellars - A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar. Mondavi represents the third generation representative of the prestigious family of wineries in Napa Valley.

• November 4, 2017 - Norwegian Escape: Bill Whiting, Director of Wine Education at Banfi Vintners. As the grandson of John F. Mariani Sr., founder of Banfi Vintners, Whiting carries on the tradition of the award-winning Castello Banfi estate, founded in 1919 in the Brunello region of Tuscany.

• December 2, 2017 - Norwegian Escape: Aarón Sánchez. Famed TV Chef and James Beard award winner, Aarón Sánchez is the official ambassador and spokesperson for Terrazas de los Andes wines and is considered one of the world’s leading contemporary Latin chefs.

• February 17, 2018 - Norwegian Escape: Gerard Bertrand, renowned vintner of Languedoc-Roussillon. Bertrand, a legendary expert in the winemaking industry, boasts 20 years of experience and a breadth of awards and accolades.

• March 2018, Norwegian Escape: Salvatore Ferragamo, heir of famed Italian fashion house and owner at Il Borro Winery in Tuscany, Italy. Salvatore, whose father Ferruccio, bought the beautiful Il Borro Esatate in 1993, has replanted the family's vineyard and has been releasing delicious Tuscan wines since 1999.

Norwegian Dawn sails to Bermuda from June through October and to Canada & New England in September and October from her seasonal homeport in Boston. The ship boasts 14 delicious dining options including Los Lobos Cantina, an upscale Mexican restaurant and brand-new concept for the Norwegian fleet; 11 bars and lounges; activities for every member of the family, whether they are young or young at heart; fabulous entertainment including Elements, an enchanting performance showcasing the four elements of Earth, Air, Water and Fire, and The Second City, Chicago’s legendary comedy theatre; and a wide variety of accommodations including the 6,694 sq. ft. Garden Villas, the largest suites at sea.

Norwegian Escape, currently sailing the Eastern and Western Caribbean from her homeport in Miami, features 27 dining options, 21 bars and lounges, and entertainment options to thrill cruisers of all ages with the largest Ropes Course at sea, the largest Aqua Park at sea, and dedicated adults-only and kids-only spaces including the brand’s first nursery offering supervised care for young cruisers ages six months to two years old. The ship offers dazzling entertainment and a variety of flexible accommodations including Norwegian’s Studio staterooms designed and priced for solo travelers, family staterooms that accommodate up to four guests, and expansive suites in The Haven™, Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship luxury suite complex featuring amenities including private butler and concierge service, exclusive restaurant and private pool, courtyard and sundeck. In April 2018, Norwegian Escape will reposition for the first time since she was christened in 2015, sailing from New York City to Bermuda on seven-day cruises to every Sunday, offering New York-area guests a new ship to enjoy.

Carnival Cruise Line Hosts Seuss-a-Palooza Event Aboard Carnival Fantasy
Carnival Cruise Line celebrated its partnership with the Port of Mobile and greater Mobile community today by hosting a Seuss-a-Palooza event for kids attending the YMCA of South Alabama Summer Camp program. The event aboard Carnival Fantasy, which is homeported year-round in Mobile, was highlighted by a Green Eggs and Ham brunch with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, a Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time and Parade and other Dr. Seuss–inspired activities that are featured on Carnival cruises.

During the event, Carnival made a $20,000 donation to the YMCA of South Alabama, reinforcing the cruise line’s commitment to supporting its homeport communities. Carnival Fantasy sails from Mobile on four- to 10-day cruises to destinations across The Bahamas, eastern and western Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. The ship carries approximately 170,000 guests a year from Mobile.

“The event today was a terrific opportunity to celebrate our long-standing relationship with the Port of Mobile and demonstrate that we’re proud to be community partners,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises is unique to Carnival and we were happy to share this fun experience with such a great group of kids from the Mobile area.”

Today’s festivities are part of Seuss at Sea, Carnival’s exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises that features fleetwide activities like the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, the Seuss-a-Palooza Parade and Story Time, Dr. Seuss Bookville, a family reading venue on select ships, character interactions, Dr. Seuss toys and games, and popular movies shown on board.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 66.99 - 0.04%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 115.74 + 3.81%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.27 - 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 55.73 + 2.96%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which ocean liner had the first on-board movie theater/cinema?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which Holland America ship caught fire and sank off the Alaska coast in October 1980 while on a positioning cruise from Vancouver to the Orient? Her 524 passengers and crew were evacuated safely.

Answer - The HAL ship which sank off Alaska in 1980 was the handsome 9,000-tonner PRINSENDAM. HAL Captain Menke (who was not serving in Prinsendam at the time of the mishap) used to say she was his favourite ship and praised her ability to "stop on a dime."
courtesy of David Rodstein


Cruise News - July 17, 2017

Disney Cruise Line Announces Plans For Seventh Ship
Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, announced plans today at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., to add a seventh ship to Disney Cruise Line's fleet, giving families even more opportunities to create magical memories at sea and visit spectacular destinations around the globe.

Last year, the leader in family cruising announced plans to build two new ships at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany with scheduled completion dates of 2021 and 2023. The seventh ship will be built at the same shipyard and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

"We decided two ships wouldn't be enough to hold all of the exciting new experiences we have been dreaming up to take family cruise vacations to a whole new level with immersive Disney storytelling, world-class family entertainment, and imaginative innovations that are fantastically fun and uniquely Disney," Chapek said. "By the time all three new ships are sailing, we'll have nearly doubled the size of our existing fleet."

All ship names, design plans and itineraries are still in development, with each of the ships expected to have their own unique experiences. The three new ships will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas and be the same size – approximately 135,000 gross tons with about 1,250 guest staterooms planned – which is slightly larger than the newest Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

Since first setting sail in 1998, Disney Cruise Line has provided a quintessential family cruise vacation experience that combines the magic of Disney with the wonder of exploring different parts of the world. Guests step aboard majestic and beautiful ocean liners to enjoy legendary Disney entertainment, exquisite dining, spacious and well-appointed staterooms and magnificent public spaces.

With the launch of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy in 2011 and 2012, the company introduced several firsts for the industry, including a water coaster at sea (AquaDuck) and virtual portholes in interior staterooms (Magical Portholes) that provide real-time views of the sea as well as sightings of animated Disney characters. With a legacy of revolutionary design, Disney Cruise Line's new ships will usher in the next generation of innovative cruise experiences designed especially for families that will transform the art-of-cruising and take guests on adventures in a way never dreamed of before.

Major Donation Extends Campaign to Save the SS United States
It was down to the wire again for America's fabled flagship, the SS United States, but an eleventh-hour donation has given the vessel another short reprieve. A $150,000 contribution to the SS United States Conservancy's "We are the United States" campaign on the eve of its conclusion, has prompted a decision to extend the national fundraising and outreach effort to save the iconic vessel.

The Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization, was just days away from deciding the fate of the world's fastest ocean liner and only ship to bear the nation's name. The donation by cruise industry executive Jim Pollin will extend the grassroots fundraising campaign through mid-September.

The Conservancy had set a goal of raising $500,000 to keep the ship afloat back in May. To date, the "We are the United States" campaign has raised nearly $200,000. The organization's board of directors was scheduled to vote this week on whether to recycle or reef the historic ship.

"This donation gives us more time to raise additional resources for the ship's expenses as we continue to negotiate with prospective developers and secure a permanent location for the vessel," stated the Conservancy's executive director, Susan Gibbs. "Jim Pollin's passion for the SS United States is inspiring and extraordinary. He is a hero to all those who care about saving our nation's heritage."

The Conservancy, which saved the ship from certain destruction in 2011, is actively courting developers and investors to revitalize the vessel as a stationary, mixed-use, landmark destination. The organization is in a race against time to raise the funds to cover the ship's ongoing monthly carrying costs at its current pier in Philadelphia. The Conservancy is also committed to the long-term effort of locating, preserving and showcasing thousands of original artifacts, as well as archival documentation, from America's Flagship.

"There is no doubt in my mind that if the Conservancy can continue to keep the United States afloat that a viable option for her future will be presented," said Pollin. "So much of who we are as a country is represented by this great ship. Americans need to step up now to help save her. The United States is as much a part of our nation as the ground on which we live and work. We cannot allow her to be destroyed. It would be a terrible loss for the nation."

Pollin is the son of the late Abe Pollin who, together with his wife Irene, owned the Washington Capitals and Wizards professional sports teams. The Pollins were also central figures in the revitalization of downtown Washington D.C. and supported a range of philanthropic causes.

"We hope that this generous donation inspires others to contribute and help us secure a bright future for the SS United States. Sixty-five years ago this month the ship returned to New York after her record-breaking maiden voyage, and she became a national heroine. That America's Flagship remains afloat today is a remarkable testament to the ship's resilience and historical importance," said Gibbs.

New Itineraries Added To Crystal Mahler's 2018 Spring Season
Crystal River Cruisesthis week has unveiled four new 2018 itineraries for its second "Rhine Class" vessel, Crystal Mahler. In April and May next year, the brand new river ship will sail three seven-day "Danube Serenade" routes between Budapest and Vienna, and one 11-day "Reflections on the Danube" sailing. The new voyages are a shorter complement to Crystal Mahler's 16-day "Grand Europe" itineraries, which sail between Amsterdam and Budapest for most of the year, cruising the Rhine and Main Rivers.

"We're delighted to offer these new sailings aboard Crystal Mahler, allowing travelers to explore the beautiful locales along the Danube in the sleek luxury of our new 'Rhine Class' vessels, with the added convenience of shorter itineraries for those with limited time away," says Crystal CEO and president, Edie Rodriguez.

The newly added itineraries depart April 10, 17, 24 and May 1 and visit European hamlets including Krems, Spitz, Linz and Melk, Austria and Bratislava, Slovakia. Three of the voyages feature dedicated theme programming, including special guest Nancy Brinker – former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation – aboard the April 10 sailing discussing Art & Diplomacy, the annual "President's Cruise" with Edie Rodriguez on the April 24 sailing, and an in-depth focus on Jewish Heritage excursions aboard the May 1 sailing.

The added itineraries further enhance the all-inclusive Crystal River Cruises experience, which was recently recognized as the "Best River Cruise Line" in the 2017 Travel + Leisure World's Best Awards. The line's first ship, the 154-guest Crystal Mozart, currently sails itineraries along the Danube, while the "Rhine Class" new-builds will predominantly sail the Rhine and Main Rivers. Crystal Mahler will embark on her maiden voyage in September from Amsterdam, joining Crystal Bach on the mighty European waterways. Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel will join the luxurious fleet in 2018.

Princess Cruises Celebrates Newly Redesigned Camp Discovery Youth and Teen Centers
Hakeem Oluseyi of Science Channel and Tory Belleci of Discovery Channel's MythBusters were onboard the Grand Princess in San Francisco to celebrate Princess Cruises' new Camp Discovery youth and teen centers, conducting an official ribbon cutting.

At the start of the day, invited kids and their parents enjoyed special opportunities to participate in activities that highlighted Discovery at Sea programs on board. Oluseyi treated kids on board to a guided "stargazing," while Belleci spoke about Shark Myths. Kids then had the opportunity to play in the redesigned Camp Discovery.

Catering to specific age groups, there are three center themes in Camp Discovery. Kids and teens can make new friends and participate in activities specially designed to help them discover, play, create and huddle, including:

• The Treehouse, ages 3-7 (formerly Pelicans): A bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center including captivating creatures and hands-on activities for kids to focus on play time, creativity and the world around them.

• The Lodge, ages 8-12 (formerly Shockwaves): Inspired by the great outdoors, this cozy center is filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.

• The Beach House, for ages 13-17 (formerly Remix) offers a contemporary surf-themed lounge, featuring a cool place for teens to hang out and socialize.

New youth and teen center programming includes MythBusters science activities with hands-on challenges. In addition, new Camp Discovery destination-themed programs focusing on the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe will immerse young cruisers into the culture, nature and customs of these regions.

In addition, fun for the whole family can be enjoyed through a family fair in the Piazza featuring carnival-like booths and activities, family trivia, Stargazing with Discovery at Sea, family game night and new soon-to-be announced family-themed programs.

Carnival Corporation & plc Names Jason Glen Cahilly to Board of Directors
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) today announced that on July 18, 2017, Jason Glen Cahilly, former chief strategic and financial officer of the National Basketball Association, has been appointed to the company's boards of directors, effective immediately. The announcement was made following the quarterly meeting of the company's boards of directors held yesterday in Venice, Italy.

Cahilly, a seasoned executive with more than 20 years of financial experience in the sports, communications, media and entertainment industries, will serve in a non-executive capacity on Carnival Corporation's 11-member boards of directors. He will also serve on the Audit Committees.

"We are very pleased to welcome Jason as an exceptional addition to our boards of directors," said Micky Arison, Carnival Corporation & plc chairman. "Jason brings extensive leadership experience to Carnival and valuable expertise in a wide variety of areas. We look forward to working with him closely and gaining insights from his unique perspective as we continue growing demand for our 10 global brands."

Most recently Cahilly served as chief strategic and financial officer of the NBA, where he was responsible for setting strategic priorities and direction globally, following 12 years at Goldman, Sachs & Co. where he served as a partner and the global co-head of media and telecommunications, as well as a member of the firm's Internet Investment Committee. Prior to that, Cahilly was a vice president of Lehman Brothers Inc. in New York. He holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School.

There is no other information required to be disclosed pursuant to LR9.6.13R in respect of Cahilly.

Following yesterday's board meeting, Carnival Corporation & plc also announced that it has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.40 per share. The company's boards of directors approved a record date for the quarterly dividend of August 25, 2017, and a payment date of September 15, 2017.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing
Price
Change
(since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 67.02 + 1.78%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 111.49 + 2.11%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 - 1.29%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.13 + 0.19%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which Holland America ship caught fire and sank off the Alaska coast in October 1980 while on a positioning cruise from Vancouver to the Orient? Her 524 passengers and crew were evacuated safely.

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 includes a feature from one of the great liners of the past. The feature is designed to cover the forward deck gear and give the ship a more graceful look. What is the feature called and what ship provided the inspiration for Queen Mary 2?

Answer - It is called a "Whaleback" and it was introduced by the Normandie.
courtesy of R. Richardson, Miami, FL


Cruise News - July 10, 2017

Majestic Princess Arrives in Shanghai to Begin Inaugural Season in China
Princess Cruises, today announced that Majestic Princess, the first new international luxury cruise liner tailor-made for China, has arrived in Shanghai to begin her maiden season. Yao Ming and Ye Li served as Naming Ambassadors and officially named Majestic Princess during an inaugural ceremony. The ceremony was also attended by Wang Hong, the party secretary of Baoshan District and director general of Shanghai International Cruise Business Institute, Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc and Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia, Chinese travel agent partners, national and local media and key opinions leaders.

"The Majestic Princess inaugural celebration was remarkable for Princess Cruises as well as Carnival Corporation, as we continue to strategically reinforce our long-term commitment to the growing cruise industry in China," said Arnold Donald, president & chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc. "We believe all Chinese families will appreciate the value of cruising as a new vacation option and create life-long memories from their experiences aboard Majestic Princess."

"We are honored to serve as the Majestic Princess Naming Ambassadors for Princess Cruises," said Yao Ming. "I'm inspired that Princess Cruises also cares so deeply about youth development in China and appreciate their support of our foundation. We look forward to enjoying a future cruise vacation aboard Majestic Princess."

Majestic Princess promises the ultimate cruise vacation, offering Princess Cruises' renowned warm, welcoming, international service experience. The new cruise ship features two specialty dinner menus designed exclusively for Princess by Michelin star-awarded chefs Emmanuel Renaut (La Mer) and Richard Chen (Harmony); the largest duty-free shops at sea; the most technologically-advanced, immersive musical and cinematic production at sea, "Fantastic Journey," featuring drones and state-of-the-art video mapping; a new youth program, "Camp Discovery" for Chinese children; and the Princess Luxury Bed developed in collaboration with board-certified doctor and sleep expert, Michael Breus, PhD.

"Majestic Princess, our new flagship, is a perfect demonstration of an 'East meets West' international cruise vacation experience," said Jan Swartz. "Representing over 50 years of experience, we are confident Majestic Princess has redefined the luxury cruising experience."

All guests who attended the inaugural celebration experienced the international luxury cruising experience as well as a range of enriching activities. Highlights included:

Elegant Design and Retail Offerings:

Majestic Princess showcases classically-modern designs, infused with fashion, art and history. The ship has the largest Atrium among the Princess Cruises fleet, featuring elegantly detailed design finishes, a range of restaurants, lounges, shops and services, plus events and activities throughout the day and evening. The Shops of Princess features the highest quality products direct from the brands' manufacturers showcased in nearly 1,100 square meters of luxury boutiques, the largest shopping space at sea.

Exceptional Dining:

La Mer by three Michelin-star chef Emmanuel Renaut and Harmony, a specialty restaurant with modern decor, sophisticated Cantonese with a dinner menu designed by Michelin-star chef Richard Chen present guests with options of exceptional French and Chinese dining experiences.

In addition, there are more options, such as the World Fresh Marketplace, with food and flavors from around the world including traditional Chinese comfort foods at a dedicated wok station, to Mediterranean dishes, a pasta specialty counter, colorful farmer's market salads, fruits, and an array of other cold dishes. There are new specialty counters offering "East meets West" street foods, including Japanese yakitori, ramen, and satays, German grilled sausages, and French crepes. In The Bakery, savor Chinese bakery favorites like egg tarts and custard and meat floss buns, as well as classic Western and European pastries and Danishes. Majestic Princess also offers guests Gong Cha, the famous bubble milk tea brand; the authentic American steakhouse experience of Crown Grill familiar across the global fleet; Lobster Grill and Dim Sum Bar as well as Alfredo's featuring Italian cuisine and "The Best Pizza at Sea."

Premier Entertainment:

The world premiere of "Fantastic Journey" presents the most technologically-advanced, immersive musical and cinematic experience at sea produced exclusively for Chinese guests aboard Majestic Princess. The ship also offers "Sing on the Sea" private karaoke, Water Color Fantasy (water fountain and multi-media light show), as well as Movies Under The Stars, the largest LED viewing screen on the Princess fleet which also impressively entertains guests aboard.

In addition, as the Captain can look through glass panels in the floor of the bridge, guests onboard Majestic Princess can now share in that breathtaking view on SeaWalk, a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway. The SeaWalk is the first of its kind at sea. At 60 feet long, cantilevered 128 feet above the waves and extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship, it affords thrilling vistas of the ever-changing seascape. Across the ship, the SeaView Bar goes one step further with a glass paneled floor and drinks prepared during exciting shows with flair.

Family Enrichment at Sea:

Debuting for China Camp Discovery is an interactive family enrichment program developed in part by Discovery Communications, California Science Center, and educators from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University – designed to foster creativity and initiate a love for learning that prepares children to better navigate their education and development at early learning ages.

Silk Road Sea Route

Majestic Princess recently finished the "Silk Road Sea Route," a 49-day journey from Rome to Shanghai. During the voyage the ship visited a total of 22 ports including Athens, Dubai, Cochin, Singapore, Port Klang, Xiamen, Hong Kong, and Japan before arriving in Shanghai, her new homeport in China. Majestic Princess will begin her first cruise from China on July 11, 2017, carrying 3,560 guests to a variety of cruise destinations.

In 2018, two 14-day Grand Asia voyage sailings between Shanghai and Singapore, will be available to guests throughout the world on Majestic Princess. These sailings will visit Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand, including spending more time ashore on the late night call in Hong Kong. The first voyage departs Shanghai on February 25, 2018, with the second departing Singapore on March 11, 2018.

Princess Cruises will also call Australia home from September 2018 to March 2019. Majestic Princess will sail itineraries from Sydney and Auckland on voyages from 6 to 13 days in length, and will call in ports at destinations including New Zealand, Tasmania, Fiji and other islands in the South Pacific.

Best Way to Visit Cuba? Go In Style on a Cruise For Worry-Free Travel
Once a forbidden place, Cuba is a jewel in the Caribbean that should be on every traveler's bucket list. And now there's a way to confidently travel to Cuba – by cruise ship.

Two of the most popular and well-known cruise lines recently received approval for sailings to Cuba – Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line, two of the 10 cruise brands that are part of Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company.

Carnival Corporation made history in May 2016 when its Fathom brand became the first cruise line to sail from the U.S. to Cuba in more than 40 years. So the company has had plenty of recent experience in sailing guests to Cuba – and fine-tuning how to provide their guests with a great experience.

And on June 29, history was again made as Carnival Cruise Line's 2,052-passenger Carnival Paradise set sail from Tampa to Havana, becoming the largest U.S. cruise ship ever to sail from the U.S. to Cuba.

Carnival Cruise Line – recently named America's Most Trusted cruise line by Reader's Digest for the third consecutive year – is currently offering four- and five- day cruises starting this summer and fall that will overnight in Havana, giving guests the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the city's rich culture and history, as well as its vibrant nightlife. Five-day sailings also call at Key West or Cozumel.

On December 22, Holland America Line – widely recognized as a leader in the premium segment of the cruise industry – will become Carnival Corporation's third cruise line to sail to Cuba.

Holland America Line's 1,350-passenger ms Veendam will sail on seven-, 11- and 12-day itineraries during the 2017-2018 winter and spring seasons from Fort Lauderdale. The ship's itineraries will visit Havana and some also call at Cienfuegos, known as Cuba's "Pearl of the South," which will include shore excursions to the stunningly preserved colonial city of Trinidad. Depending on the itinerary, passengers will also have opportunity to explore other ports of call in the Caribbean, including the Bahamas and Mexico.

The opening of Cuba gives travelers a new, must-see destination to visit and explore in the Caribbean, the world's most popular cruising region. The Spanish-speaking country is like no other place, filled with legendary history, culture and architecture, with people known for their work ethic, entrepreneurship and vibrant spirit for life.

Only 90 miles from the U.S., Cuba was for generations a place that U.S. travelers could only dream about visiting on a cruise ship. While the country is more accessible than ever by sea, it still feels like another world.

The opportunity to learn more about the Cuban culture directly from the Cuban people only enhances the experience of visiting Cuba. People-to-people exchanges, which meet U.S. guidelines for travel to Cuba, are arranged by the cruise lines on half-day and full-day shore excursions. After a complete day of exploration and immersion, guests can also experience nighttime shore excursions.

"Guests will get the chance to participate in culturally enriching experiences such as visiting historical sites and engaging directly with the Cuban people, which ultimately will expand horizons," said Terry Thornton, Carnival Cruise Line's senior vice president of Port Operations. "Our team has created a variety of great shore excursions that we are excited about and believe will create special memories for our guests."

Global cruise travelers and enrichment seekers are naturally curious about new destinations and places that are not easily visited. Cuba is one of these places, and Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line guests will find opportunities to learn about a country that most have only seen in photos and news reports.

"Many of the tours are designed in order to have our guests interact with small family-run operations to give them an authentic Cuban experience," said Beth Bodensteiner, senior vice president of Revenue Management and Global Deployment for Holland America Line. "We have done all the legwork in creating meaningful experiences that meet all U.S. regulatory requirements. In our view, cruising is the best and most worry-free way to travel to Cuba, even more so going forward."

"The history, culture, amazing sites, art, music and interactions with the Cuban people are unique to this special destination," added Thornton. "A cruise to Cuba will provide lasting memories from being one of the first U.S. guests to visit this fascinating island nation."

Arriving in Havana - Do not miss the sail-in through the narrow channel into Old Havana, with the beautiful, historically significant Morro Castle watching over your cruise ship as it sails into the harbor. Among the city's stately buildings, keep an eye out for the Hotel Nacional, a landmark on the waterfront since 1930.

Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a jaw-dropping place to explore, a history-rich capital city with cobblestone streets, examples of baroque and neoclassical architecture, broad plazas and the impressive Maleco´n seawall on the Straits of Florida.

Your ship will dock right in Old Havana, an easy walk to museums and other historical landmarks, such as La Bodeguita del Medio, where a scribble on the wall is attributed to Ernest Hemingway.

It's hard to believe this time capsule of a city is a metropolis that is home to two million people. It feels like a living breathing slice of history.

Cienfuegos and Trinidad - On Holland America Line cruises, guests will have the additional opportunity to see the sophisticated neoclassical buildings of Cienfuegos, a port city carefully planned out by French settlers in the 19th century. Book an excursion to Trinidad and you will drive about 60 miles through the countryside to a beautifully preserved Spanish colonial city of cobblestone streets, palaces and plazas, founded in 1514 by the conquistador Diego Vela´zquez and located on a hilltop overlooking the Caribbean. Both Cienfuegos and Trinidad were significant trading capitals that like Old Havana are recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

HMS Queen Elizabeth meets RMS Queen Elizabeth
Cunard's Queen Elizabeth met HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time on Thursday, Jul. 6, 2017 off the coast of Scotland.

The rendezvous of the two ships, that share the same name and who were both christened by The Queen, took place in the Moray Firth off the coast of Scotland during Queen Elizabeth's 13-night tour of the British Isles. "It is a huge honour for myself and the crew of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth to meet HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time,” said Captain Inger Klein Thorhauge of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

“To share the sea with the Royal Navy's lead ship of the Queen Elizabeth-class of aircraft carrier and the largest warship ever built for the UK is a pleasure and I would like to take this opportunity to wish Commander Kyd and his crew well with their sea trials."

Norwegian Cruise Line Enhances Summer 2018 Deployment In Alaska And The Caribbean
Norwegian Cruise Line today announced updates to the their summer 2018 deployment, featuring exciting new opportunities for guests to set sail to their dream destinations, while unpacking just once and enjoying the most free and flexible cruising experience at sea. New for 2018, Norwegian Sun will reposition to Port Canaveral and offer all-inclusive four day cruises to Havana, Cuba and Key West, and three-day cruises to the Bahamas. Norwegian Jewel will rejoin the youngest fleet sailing to Alaska in summer 2018, with a multitude of exciting itineraries including seven- and nine-day sailings from Seattle, Seward and Vancouver.

“Alaska continues to be one of the most popular destinations we sail to around the world. We are thrilled to be significantly increasing capacity in the region in summer 2018 with the redeployment of Norwegian Jewel and the inaugural season for Norwegian Bliss, providing more opportunities for our guests to experience a vacation of a lifetime in this incredible pristine destination,” said Andy Stuart, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line. “Our all-inclusive model aboard Norwegian Sky has been very well-received and as we evaluated the opportunity to expand upon that concept, we felt that Port Canaveral was the ideal location to offer our guests a value-rich on board experience and exciting action-packed ports-of-call, including an overnight call in Havana, Cuba.”

Following her fall/winter season in South America and a dry dock enhancement, Norwegian Sun will spend her summer 2018 season sailing all-inclusive cruises from Port Canaveral, offering four-day itineraries that call on Key West and Havana, Cuba, along with three-day cruises to the Bahamas. Norwegian Sun accommodates 1,936 guests, providing freedom, flexibility and superior guest service with 16 dining options, 12 bars and lounges, entertainment options for all ages and more. All guests sailing aboard one of Norwegian Sun’s Cuba or Bahamas cruises from Port Canaveral will also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages included in their cruise fare as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program. Norwegian Sun’s new itineraries include the following:

• Norwegian Sun will undergo a two-and-a-half week dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia as a part of the Norwegian Edge™, the brand’s revitalization program encompassing the entire guest experience, and re-enter service on April 19, 2018 where she will begin her journey to the east coast with a 17-day Panama Canal cruise departing from Seattle.

• Norwegian Sun’s four-day cruises to Cuba will depart Port Canaveral each Monday, beginning May 7, 2018, and feature a call on Key West, Florida and an overnight stay in Havana, returning to Port Canaveral each Friday. Norwegian Sun will transport guests to the heart of the action in both Key West and Havana, calling in Key West’s Old Town district and Havana Harbor, located in the heart of Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Norwegian Sun will offer guests the opportunity to experience the wonderful culture and incredible history of Cuba, along with the warmth and friendliness of the Cuban people during OFAC-compliant* shore excursions.

• Norwegian Sun’s three-day cruises to the Bahamas will feature calls in Nassau** and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s popular private island beach paradise that was recently enhanced with new food and beverage outlets, expanded Cabanas for daily rental and a new underwater snorkeling garden.

Following her winter 2017/2018 season sailing in Australia and Asia, Norwegian Jewel will journey from Tokyo (Yokohama) to Seattle and will replace Norwegian Sun as Norwegian’s third ship sailing in Alaska in summer 2018. As the namesake of Norwegian’s "Jewel Class" ships, the 2376-passenger Norwegian Jewel is a guest favorite and thrills with a myriad of dining and entertainment offerings. Featuring 16 dining options including Norwegian’s signature specialty restaurants Cagney’s, La Cucina and Le Bistro; along with 15 bars and nightclubs, Norwegian Jewel is a perfect ship to explore the stunning beauty of Alaska. Her wide variety of accommodations includes some of the largest suites at sea in The Haven by Norwegian, the ship’s exclusive suite complex. The famous three-bedroom Garden Villa boasts nearly 5000 square feet of luxury and is located at the top of the ship, with an expansive 2314 square foot balcony that comes complete with a hot tub and private sundeck. The ship’s onboard activities and entertainment include shows Le Cirque Bijou and Band on the Run, a sports deck for basketball, volleyball, tennis and much more. Norwegian Jewel’s new summer 2018 itineraries include the following itineraries:

• Beginning May 26, 2018, Norwegian Jewel will reposition from Seattle to Vancouver with a nine-day Alaska cruise. This scenic itinerary will visit the region’s best destinations, with calls in Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Ketchikan.

• Norwegian Jewel will sail a seven-day roundtrip cruise from Vancouver to Alaska departing on June 4, 2018 with calls on Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.

• Beginning June 11, 2018 from Vancouver, Norwegian will offer guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy alternating embarkation ports in Vancouver and Seward. From Vancouver, Norwegian Jewel will sail seven-day Glacier Bay cruises calling on Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and disembarking in Seward. From Seward, Norwegian Jewel will feature seven-day Inside Passage Alaska cruises calling on Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and disembarking in Vancouver. Both itineraries will include a sail past the breathtaking Hubbard Glacier.

Honduran Shores Attract New Cruise Lines
Honduras has reported a sharp increase in the number of cruise passengers and cruise ships in 2016 compared with the previous year, reflecting a growing interest in the Central American country as the next top tourist destination.

New vessels calling at Honduran ports this season included Azamara Cruises' Azamara Quest, with a visitor capacity of 690 people, Swan Hellenic Cruises' Minerva welcoming 350 tourists per ship, and Tui Cruises' Mein Schiff 4, with a total capacity of more than 2500 passengers.

With the recent addition of these three lines, 18 different cruise ship companies now stop in Honduran ports of call, including: Carnival Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises, Holland American Line, Thomson Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Tui Cruises, MSC Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, P&O Cruises, Silver Sea, Noble Caledonia, Swan Hellenic Cruises, Azamara Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Sea Cloud Cruises.

Per official port statistics, 1,052,738 cruise passengers docked in Honduras in 2016, a 14.7 percent increase over the previous year's figure of 917,938. Approximately 85 percent of these passengers disembarked on Honduran shores to enjoy some of the country's natural beauty. Per the Honduran Institute of Tourism (IHT) a 3 percent increase in cruises is expected during 2017.

In total, 341 cruise ships called at Honduran ports during 2016, 6.6 percent more than the 320 ships that docked in the country in 2015. The largest of these cruise ships carried 6,882 passengers. Per-passenger average cruise spend reached US$80 in 2016.

This growth prompted the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to hold its annual Central America Cruise Summit in Honduras in early May of this year.

Cruise passengers wishing to visit Honduras can now choose departure locations from Miami, Tampa, Port Everglades (near Fort Lauderdale), New Orleans and Galveston (near Houston).

ROATÁN - Most cruise passengers visiting Honduras disembark on the Caribbean island of Roatán, some 30 miles north of the mainland. In 2016, Roatán welcomed 1,037,647 cruise passengers, approximately 80 percent of them Americans who were surprised to learn that Roatán is English-dominant, owing to its British colonial legacy.

Roatán is known internationally for its white sand beaches, pristine bays and proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world. West Bay Beach in Roatán received the 2017 Traveler's Choice Trip Advisor award for the best beach in Central America and one of the 25 best beaches in the world. Frommer's recently highlighted Roatán in its Undiscovered Caribbean Islands: Insiders' Guide; the HGTV show House Hunters International has featured Roatán in a handful of recent episodes, and Islands Magazine listed Roatán as one of the Best Islands to Retire. Visitors flock to Roatán to snorkel, scuba dive and swim among exotic marine creatures such as whale sharks, mantas, wild dolphins, sea turtles and schools of fish, while they can also enjoy water activities such as kayaking, water skiing, sailing and wakeboarding.

Since the remodeling of Roatán's main port (Coxen Hole) in 2008, and building Port Mahogany Bay (Dixon Cove) in 2010, more cruise lines servicing the Western Caribbean have incorporated Honduras into their itineraries. The Port of Roatán can accommodate one ship at a time and has three spaces in the anchorage area, while Port Mahogany Bay can serve up to two ships at a time.

While vacationing on this paradisiacal island, visitors interested in native flora and fauna can explore the Carambola Botanical Gardens at Sandy Bay, the Gumbalimba Conservation Park or the quiet islands near Maya Key and Little French Key.

The below cruise lines are just some of the 18 lines that service Roatán:

• The 3,080-passenger Crown Princess, one of Princess Cruises' largest ships;

• Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Breeze, Conquest , Dream, Fantasy, Freedom, Glory, Magic, Miracle, Paradise, Sunshine, Splendor and Vista;

• Norwegian Cruise Line's Breakaway, Dawn, Epic, Escape, Gem, Getaway, Jade and Pearl ;

• Royal Caribbean Cruises' Liberty of the Seas from Galveston, Vision of the Seas from the Port of New Orleans, Rhapsody of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas from Tampa, Serenade of the Seas from Port Everglades and Allure of the Seas from Miami and others, for a total of 18 itineraries;

• Regent Seven Sea Cruises' Seven Seas Mariner, Seven Seas Explorer, and Seven Seas Voyager; and

• Costa Cruises' Costa Deliziosa, departing from Port Everglades.

TRUJILLO - In 2014, Trujillo, situated on Honduras' northern (Caribbean) coast, became the first continental port in the country to receive cruise passengers. The development of the port was made possible by a US$30 million investment by Canadian concessionaire Banana Coast to dredge the port and spearhead local beautification projects.

In 2016, five ships visited the port, including RCCL Azamara Quest followed by P&O Cruises' Adonia, Holland American Line's MS Veendam, Oceania Cruises' Riviera and Thomson Cruises' Thomson Dream.

Shore excursions include tobogganing, tram rides through Trujillo's colonial center and nearby nature reserves, kayaking in the Guaimoreto Lagoon and ATV tours. Passengers can also explore the culture of the Garífunas, descendants of African slaves who arrived in the region between the 17th and 18th centuries. PUERTO CORTÉS - Puerto Cortés, located in a natural bay on Honduras' Caribbean coast north of San Pedro Sula, is not only the largest seaport in Central America and the 36th largest in the world in terms of traffic volume, but also an important cruise port, welcoming local cruise ships such as El Europa 2 and El Viajero de los Mares, collectively carrying 1,634 cruise passengers, in 2016. As part of their tour of Puerto Cortés, many cruise passengers head to San Fernando Fortress, one of the few surviving colonial fortresses in the Americas, located in the nearby city of Omoa.

THE PACIFIC COAST - Cruise passengers looking for new ports to explore will be delighted to know that the Pacific coast of Honduras will soon be able to welcome them. In 2018, Honduras hopes to open the Amapala cruise port on Isla del Tigre (Tiger Island), just off its Pacific Coast. Amapala's naturally deep channel will easily allow ships to dock, without requiring further dredging.

Cruises are an excellent first introduction to Honduras, and many day visitors are returning as tourists to explore the country's other attractions such as the ancient Mayan city of Copán and Pico Bonito/PANACAM National Parks. From 2015 to 2016, Honduras' international tourism numbers increased 4 percent and international tourism revenues grew 6.8 percent.

DNCE To Star In Total Eclipse Concert On Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas
The stars have aligned with the return of multi-platinum selling band DNCE aboard Royal Caribbean International for a live musical performance to celebrate the Great American Eclipse, a phenomenon 99 years in the making. On Aug. 21, DNCE will headline Royal Caribbean's bucket-list-worthy solar eclipse viewing party with a surprise guest for an out-of-this-world performance aboard the exclusive 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas, one of the world's largest and most adventure-packed cruise ships.

Adventure-seekers will have the vantage point of the century when Oasis of the Seas positions itself along the eclipse's path of totality where the moon completely masks the sun for a few minutes of total darkness. Building up to the unprecedented moment at sea, DNCE frontman Joe Jonas and all-star bandmates, including bassist and keyboardist Cole Whittle, guitarist JinJoo and drummer Jack Lawless, will perform the band's heart-pumping hits like "Kissing Strangers," "Body Moves" and, of course, "Cake by the Ocean." Guests booked on the Total Eclipse Cruise can visit Royal Caribbean's website and reserve their complimentary seats for the concert by logging on to their reservation.

"When we were invited to headline this once-in-a-lifetime event, we didn't think twice. What could be more out of this world than witnessing a full solar eclipse at sea?" said Joe Jonas. "We're stoked about coming back on board with Royal Caribbean to put on a lights-out performance with a very special guest. It's beyond exciting to be able to celebrate this crazy moment in history out in the middle of the ocean."

The viewing party will last far into the night, long after the moon eclipses the sun, creating social media-worthy moments for what is predicted to be one of the most trending topics of 2017.

In addition to the viewing party, guests on Oasis of the Seas will be treated to other eclipse-themed activities, including dance parties, trivia, interactive science fun for kids and their families, and tasty cocktails and dishes.

Travelers sailing on board Oasis of the Seas will also enjoy the ship's bold and unexpected lineup of experiences and amenities. From two FlowRider surf simulators and a zip line nine decks high – speeding riders 82 feet across an open-air atrium, to unparalleled entertainment, including Broadway-style shows and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater; and world-class dining at 150 Central Park by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, there is an adventure for travelers of all ages aboard Oasis.

The 7-night Total Eclipse Cruise on board Oasis of the Seas will set sail on Aug. 20, 2017 from Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida, and visit Caribbean destinations in the Eastern Caribbean, including Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas; and Nassau, The Bahamas. Adventurers can book now to witness this historic event at sea by visiting RoyalCaribbean.com/TotalEclipse, calling (800) ROYAL- CARIBBEAN or contacting their travel agent.

Royal Caribbean's seven other ships sailing to the Caribbean during the total solar eclipse will provide guests with extraordinary partial views of the phenomenon and special celebrations featuring the cruise line's onboard entertainment offerings. The seven ships are Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Empress of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas and Majesty of the Seas.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.85 + 0.92%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 109.19 + 0.32%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.33 + 1.30%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.03 - 0.95%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Cunard's Queen Mary 2 includes a feature from one of the great liners of the past. The feature is designed to cover the forward deck gear and give the ship a more graceful look. What is the feature called and what ship provided the inspiration for Queen Mary 2?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
Which former cruise ship began life as the container cargo ship Axel Johnson in 1969?

Answer - The former Axel Johnson of the Johnson Line was rebuilt as Costa Marina of Costa Cruises. She was rebuilt in 1989 with a large subsidy from the Italian government. An earlier attempt at a cruise ship conversion by Regency Cruises was stillborn.
courtesy of R. Scafidi


Cruise News - July 3, 2017

Carnival Paradise Arrives In Havana to Inaugurate Carnival Cruise Line’s First-Ever Voyage to Cuba
Carnival Paradise arrived in Havana, Cuba this week, marking Carnival Cruise Line’s first-ever cruise to the picturesque island destination.

The 2,052-passenger vessel – the largest cruise ship ever to call at Havana – departed Port Tampa Bay yesterday on the line’s inaugural voyage to Havana, the first of 12 four- and five-day sailings to the centuries-old Cuban capital.

Carnival Paradise guests will be able to choose from a range of exciting shore excursion experiences that showcase Cuba's vibrant culture and majestic beauty, along with the island's warm and friendly people and centuries-old architectural landmarks.

"Cuba is an island jewel unique from anywhere else in the Caribbean and we are thrilled to have this rare opportunity to take our guests to this fascinating destination," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "The opportunity to visit Havana, combined with the fun, relaxed ambiance and wide variety of amenities and features offered on Carnival Paradise, will make for a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience," she added.

Aboard Carnival Paradise, guests can enjoy an array of amenities and a full schedule of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. A variety of dining options include two full-service main dining rooms and expansive poolside choices. The ship also features a 12,000-square-foot Spa Carnival health and wellness facility and an exclusive Serenity adults-only retreat. Popular family-friendly programming includes Seuss at Sea in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and featuring the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends and fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups. Four swimming pools and a 115-foot-long water slide are additional features.

The visits to Havana comply with regulations of the U.S. Department of Treasury that permit travel operators to transport approved travelers to Cuba to engage in activities as defined by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Foreign Assets Control. All cruises feature a daytime and overnight call in Havana to provide vacationers a rare and exciting opportunity to explore this fascinating destination. Additional cruises in the series depart July 13, Aug. 14, 24 and 28, Sept. 7, 21 and 25, Oct. 5, 9 and 19, 2017, as well as May 3, 2018. Four-day cruises feature Havana while five-day voyages add a stop in Cozumel or Key West.

Oceania Cruises Recognizes "Youngest World Cruisers" As 4- And 6-year Olds Complete 180-Day Around The World Voyage
Oceania Cruises recognized the "Youngest World Cruisers," 4-year-old Lorenna D'Amore Nogueira and 6-year-old Henrique D'Amore Nogeuira, yesterday in New York aboard the 684-guest m/s Insignia.

Sailing with 30-year-old mom Drielle D'Amore Nogueira and 32-year-old dad Diego Castilho Nogueira, the sister and brother are about to complete Oceania's 180-day Around the World voyage, which departed Miami on January 6, 2017, calling in 36 countries on six continents. The ship returns to Miami on July 6, where the family will disembark for the last time and return to their home in Brazil.

Together, the Nogueira family is dispelling the myth that long sailings are solely for retirees and mature guests. As a teacher, Drielle says that the education from such an extended adventure is an incredible way to learn about world history, culture and people. And, for her, "The greatest achievement undoubtedly is English language skills." In regards to how her children are finding life on the ship, she said, "They have adapted to it all very easily and willingly and are interested in new stories. This [experience] will definitely make a difference when studying, learning and understanding matters in school. How much they have learned on this trip will be uncovered in the future, when some subject will remind us all of what we saw and lived during this time."

Diego added, "It's fantastic how children are sponges absorbing everything around them…The diversity encountered (on this cruise) will certainly help them grow with less prejudices because they met so many people from different cultures."

And what did the children like best about their journey? Henrique said, "I like the onboard games you can play with adults and my dad and my mom, and I love (the daily) teatime! I like to visit the different countries, but sometimes I wanted to stay longer and we don't have time. But it's cool; I already know the places that I want to go back to! Every time that we leave (for extended excursions) I really like returning to the ship and hearing the crew say, 'Welcome Back!' I love my house on the ship! I have a high bed that opens and closes and that's awesome!"

Lorenna, who turned 4 while on the voyage, said, "I like to go off the ship and see the cities. I love the chef when he makes brigadeiro (a Brazilian pastry) for me like for my birthday! I loved my party birthday on the ship."

How did mom and dad keep their kids entertained for 180-days? Diego said, "We adults have the idea that kids love to have toys, the more elaborate the better, but this journey also made us (parents) realize that actually children just want attention. Without any specific activity, if we give attention telling a story, painting with them, involving them around the environment, in the end they are just happy with that."

Drielle added that their stateroom has been a place for play, family time and art. "We have the children's drawings on the walls of the places that we have been; they show how much they are learning with the whole experience. We love this experience and think it should be mandatory for every human being, as personal growth."

Viking Cruises Unveils New Winter Northern Lights Itinerary
Viking Cruises today announced a new ocean cruise itinerary that will allow guests the rare opportunity to explore the far north in Norway's winter, during a peak period for aurora borealis sightings. Sailing between London and Bergen starting in January 2019, In Search of the Northern Lights will establish Viking as the first U.S. cruise line to offer a full-length itinerary in the Arctic Circle in the winter season.

"Our Nordic heritage is evident in all that we do, from our spirit of exploration to the serene, understated elegance of our ships. Scandinavia is Viking territory, and no other cruise line can show guests this part of the world like we can," said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises. "Norway's landscapes in the winter are truly magnificent, something few North Americans get to witness. I am pleased to offer this exclusive opportunity for our guests to explore my homeland."

Sailing on Viking's third 930-guest ocean ship, Viking Sky, guests will experience Norway's pristine beauty and dramatic snow-dusted wilderness, with a chance each day to stargaze and scan the dark skies for the northern lights. On the 13-day itinerary, guests will be able to immerse themselves in the rich culture of northern Europe, visiting seven destinations – with overnights in Tromsø, Alta and Bergen, Norway, and a complimentary excursion in each port. Highlights of the new In Search of the Northern Lights itinerary include:

• Experience the Northern Lights in Alta: Home to some of northern Europe's most magnificent natural beauty, Alta's frequent clear skies make it an ideal place to view the luminous aurora borealis during the height of the viewing season.

• Experience Nordic Life with the Sami Community of Máze: While in Alta, visit the nearby native Sami community of Máze for an authentic lunch of local dishes and an exciting ride in a reindeer-drawn sleigh.

• Visit the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø: Home to the largest concentration of wooden houses in northern Norway dating back to 1904, marvel at the classic architecture contrasted with modern buildings, including the Arctic Cathedral, a stunning triangular building in white and icy blue often called the "Opera House of Norway" for its resemblance to the Sydney Opera House.

• Step into the Viking Age in Stavanger: Visit the Archaeological Museum, where a host in traditional Viking dress will demonstrate essential tools and artifacts of the time period, then stop at the Swords in Stone monument commemorating the Battle of Hafrsfjord in 872.

• Ascent of Mt. Ulriken in Bergen: A panoramic tour of Bergen takes you to the beautifully preserved wharf of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was central to Bergen's role in the Hanseatic League. Afterwards, embark on a gondola ride for a scenic ascent to Mt. Ulriken, the highest of Bergen's famous Seven Mountains.

Crystal River Cruises Unveils Culinary Concepts For Crystal Bach
Crystal River Cruises has unveiled detailed highlights of the culinary concepts and offerings to be featured aboard Crystal Bach, the first of the company's "Rhine Class" river yachts, debuting in August. Sailing routes along the Rhine, Danube and Main Rivers, the all-balcony, all-suite vessel will offer sophisticated menus of cuisine inspired by the region, artfully crafted by a team of expert European chefs. And while the specialties themselves will be creatively designed specifically for Crystal Bach's stunning itineraries, the philosophy of culinary excellence remains rooted in Crystal's commitment to using the freshest ingredients sourced from local suppliers and serving dishes that authentically represent the destinations visited.

"As the first 'Rhine Class' river yacht, Crystal Bach will introduce a new standard of luxury in river cruising on many fronts, including the culinary concept and innovative experiences found on board," says Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of Crystal. "While we are always pursuing new and distinctive experiences on each of our luxury vessels, our overall dedication to unsurpassed quality and abundant choices remains constant."

Guests will dine on fresh fish and seafood from Holland, seasonal fruits and vegetables from Germany and the Netherlands, meat and poultry from farmers in Bavaria and the Austrian Alps, along with wine, beer and cheese specific to the region. Uniquely European delicacies will also be featured on the expansive menus, including sturgeon caviar from Eindhoven and river crawfish from the Rhine. Additionally, as aboard Crystal's first luxury river ship, Crystal Mozart, coffees and teas by Julius Meinl, a prestigious Vienna-based company who has crafted the beverages since 1862, will be served on Crystal Bach.

Crystal chefs will create dishes that have been favored by local people and nobility for centuries, as well as some options that boast a modern twist on the classics. From the elegant Waterside Restaurant – the main dining room aboard Crystal River vessels – to the relaxed Bistro Café and exclusive Vintage Room, guests will find farm-to-table, Michelin-inspired cuisine that complements the cultural discoveries of their journey.

Dutch herring on dill mousse and German green split pea soup with smoked duck join other European delicacies like Dornfelder braised oxtail ragout and Boeuf Bourguignonne. Mouthwatering dishes such as truffle spring chicken cassoulet "En Croute," broiled dover sole "Meuniere" and cold-water lobster served with a creamy leek risotto are also among the culinary palate pleasers.

A brand new dedicated selection of vegetarian dishes will also be offered aboard Crystal Bach, which will offer the same fresh and authentic approach as the overall menu.

"The culinary experience aboard all Crystal vessels is meant to inspire travelers to discover more about the world they explore, as food and the camaraderie of dining is such an integral part of the travel experience," says Toni Neumeister, senior vice president of hotel operations. "Guests aboard Crystal Bach will not only enjoy extraordinary new and classic flavors, but also a taste of the history and culture of this beautiful region."

In addition to the cuisine served on board the luxury river yacht, guests can indulge in exclusive dining experiences at Michelin star-awarded restaurants in select destinations. Each 2017 itinerary will feature at least one opportunity to indulge in signature fare of renowned eateries ashore, the first of which will be complementary.

The vessels will be the river cruising industry's first all-balcony, all-suite designs boasting every category of accommodation perched above the waterline. Every suite will offer Crystal's acclaimed butler service in every room category, plush king-sized beds that face toward the Panoramic Balcony-Windows™, walk-in closets and dual vanity in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, wall-mounted flat-screen HD TVs, and Nespresso machines.

Stock Watch
The following are the latest closing prices for selected cruise line stocks.

Company Today's Closing Price Change (since last week)
Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE:CCL) 65.25 - 1.61%
Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE:RCL) 108.84 - 2.73%
GENTING HK - Star, Crystal Cruises (HKSE:0678.HK) 2.30 - 6.12%
Norwegian Cruise Line (Nasdq: NCLH) 54.55 + 1.72%

Cruise News Trivia Question:
Which former cruise ship began life as the container cargo ship Axel Johnson in 1969?

Answer - Will be published in next week's column along with the name of the first person to submit the correct answer. Send your answer to cruise2014 at travelpage.com

Last Week's Question
When Cunard's Queen Mary departed New York for Europe in July of 1943 she carried a record number of passengers and crew - the most of any passenger vessel in war or peace. How many people did she carry on that historic voyage? (note: the closest answer wins this week's contest)

Answer - The Queen Mary set a record on July 25th 1943 sailing from New York to Gourock with 15.740 passengers and a crew of 943 totalling 16.683
courtesy of liberte50 (at) wtal.de

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